In the matter of the Representation of DH and of Church Street Trustees Limited and in the matter of the H Trust [2009]JRC158

This decision of the Royal Court in Jersey provides a reminder of the duties of an outgoing trustee to provide information to his successor.

The settlement in question was a discretionary trust, with two individual trustees, one of whom was the settlor. The power to appoint new trustees was vested in the trustees for the time being and, as a result of increasing difficulties experienced by the settlor in relation to his co-trustee, the settlor asked his co-trustee to retire.

The outgoing trustee signed a deed of retirement and appointment, but the settlor changed his mind and proposed an alternative as the new trustee. In the absence of a response from the co-trustee to this proposal, the settlor made an application to court, for the appointment of a new trustee, and for disclosure of trust documents.

Whilst the outgoing trustee eventually signed the new deed of retirement and appointment of trustee, there was still a lack of information being produced.

In relation to the provision of information, the court referred to the decision in Ogier Trustee Jersey Limited -v- C.I. Law Trustees Limited and Others [2006]JRC158 in which the court held that, "On the transfer of a trusteeship the outgoing trustee is under a duty to cooperate fully and actively in the transfer by making relevant documents and correspondence available promptly to the incoming trustee and by providing an explanation to questions reasonably raised by the incoming trustee."

On the evidence before it, the court was satisfied that the outgoing trustee had failed to comply with this duty and that the information being sought should be provided.

In relation to costs, the court ordered that the outgoing trustee should pay the costs of the representation on an indemnity basis.