Disclosure of trust documents

AuthorAlec Samuels
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1965.tb01061.x
Publication Date01 Mar 1965
220
THE
MODERN
LAW
REVIEW
VOL.
28
equal length without any suggestion that one was less important
than the other. Davieg L.J. mysteriously remarked
‘‘
On
this view
of the case of the other question [of the prescriptive right]
.
. .
does
not arise. The
case surely is a good example of a decision boasting two
rutiones.
But it is obviously necessary
to
consider
it.”
aa
PAUL
JACKSON.
DISCLOSURE
OF
TRUST DOCUMENTS
IN
Re Londonderry’s Settlement
the issue was whether trustees
were obliged to permit a beneficiary to inspect certain classes of
documents in their possession in connection with the trust, namely
(1)
the trust accounts,
(2)
letters and advice passing between
solicitor
or
counsel and the trustees,
(a)
letters passing (a) between
the trustees themselves, and (b) between the trustees and bene-
ficiaries,
(4)
agendas and other documents prepared for meetings of
the trustees, and
(5)
the minutes of those meetings.
It
was not
disputed that the trust accounts and any written advice from
solicitor
or
counsel as to the manner in which the trustees were in
law entitled to exercise their powers should be disclosed
on
request.
It
has long been established that a beneficiary is entitled as a
matter of proprietary right to
see
the trust documents
*;
it
has also
long been established that trustees need give
no
reasons
for
their
decisions, though
if
they do those reasons may be scrutinised by the
court. Lord Truro L.C. said
*:
“.
. .
[Ilt
is to the discretion of the trustees that the
execution of the trust is confided, that discretion being exercised
with an entire absence
of
indirect motive, with honesty
o€
intention, and with a fair consideration
of
the subject. The
duty of supervision
on
the part of this
Court
will
thus be
confined to the question of the honesty, integrity, and fairness
with which the deliberation has been conducted, and
will
not
be extended to the accuracy of the conclusion arrived at, except
in particular cases.
If,
however,
.
. .
trustees think
fit
to
state a reason, and the reason is one which does not justify
their conclusion, then the court may say that they have acted
by mistake and in error, and that it will correct their decision;
but
if,
without entering into details, they simply state,
as
in
many cases
it
would be most prudent and judicious for them to
do, that they have met and considered and come to a conclu-
sion, the Court has then
no
means of saying that they have
failed in their duty,
or
to consider the accuracy of their
conclusion
.”
22
[1964]
3
All
E.R.
418
at
p.
431.
1
[1965]
2
W.L.R.
229;
[1964]
3All
E.R.
855
(C.A.).
2
O’Rourke
v.
Darbisltire
[1920]
A.C.
581.
8
Re
Belooed
Wilkes’
Charity
(1851)
3
Mac.
Q
G.
440
at
p.
448;
42
E.R.
330
at
pp.
331-332.

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