Appleby’s conference entitled “Trust Mistakes and What to do About Them” was held on 14 August at the Old Government House Hotel, St Peter Port, Guernsey. The seminar was chaired by Gavin Ferguson, Guernsey Office Managing Partner and Local Practice Group Head of Appleby’s Contentious Trusts team. It included discussons by Jeremy Le Tissier and Anthony Williams, members of Appleby’s Contentious Trusts team and Litigation & Insolvency group, with guest speaker Richard Wilson from 3 Stone Buildings. The seminar attracted over 70 attendees, including Trust Directors and Managers and In-house Legal Advisors.
The conference covered the recent UK Supreme Court decision in Futter v. HMRC and Pitt v. HMRC and its potential implications for Guernsey law. Attendees were warned that this judgment represents a fundamental change in approach to dealing with trustee errors. Following the judgment, under English Law, trustees will find it much more difficult to rely on the rule in Hastings-Bass when seeking to set aside decisions made by them, but that the courts are now able to deal with most trustee errors under the law of mistake instead.
The conference kicked off with a key note speech by Richard Wilson, who appeared in Futter. Mr Wilson addressed the development of the so called rule in Hastings Bass and the doctrine of mistake in English law and gave his views on the decision by the Supreme Court. This was followed by a panel session that considered the position in Guernsey to date, and how Appleby considers that the rule in Hastings Bass and the doctrine of mistake will develop in Guernsey going forward, including the prospect of legislative amendments to clarify the law in the Island.
Gavin Ferguson commented “The conference was extremely well received by our audience, and it will be fascinating to see, over the coming months, the extent to which the dramatic developments in Futter and Pitt affect the law in Guernsey in this important area for trustees.”