A non-cyclic tetraazatricarboxylate ligand, tris(4-carboxy-3-methyl-3-azabutyl)amine (H3L), derived from tris(2-aminoethyl)amine, was synthesised and purified. Its macroscopic and microscopic protonation behaviour was studied using potentiometry and proton NMR titrations, respectively. Stability constants for its complexes with Ni2+, Cu2+, Zn2+, Cd2+ and Gd3+ were obtained potentiometrically and compared with those of related ligands. The structure, protonation and dynamics of the complexes of H3L with Zn2+ and La3+ were investigated by proton NMR spectroscopy as a function of pH and the results were in accord with the potentiometric data for the complexes of Zn2+ and Gd3+. A nuclear magnetic relaxation dispersion study compared the water-proton relaxation parameters of [GdL] and [Gd(dtpa)]2- (H5dtpa = N,N,N′,N″,N″-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid), concluding that their water co-ordination numbers are the same but the former complex has a shorter electron-spin relaxation time.