Judgement Summary: Anonymisation And Redaction Of Judgements In Trust Cases

Representation of A and B re the C Trust [2012]JRC098 14-May -2012 Jersey

Previously in the case of In the matter of the representation of the Sanne Trust Company Limited [2009] JRC 025B, the Royal Court held that steps may be taken to protect the identity of minors and the privacy of the trust arrangements, but there is no reason to anonymise professional advisers who have committed mistakes; the Royal Court has now extended this principle to trustees and protectors whose actions have been criticised by the Court.

Background to case: In the matter of the representation of the C Trust [2012]JRC086B

The Royal Court set aside an instrument of appointment on the ground that the decision of the trustees was one at which no reasonable trustee could have arrived. For the avoidance of doubt, minor grandchildren were excluded as beneficiaries during the lifetime of the widow. The Court's judgement was critical of the widow, the father, the trustee and the protector and the trustee, protector and widow sought the anonymisation and redaction of the judgement.

It should be noted that although the application to set aside the instrument was brought under Article 51 of the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984 (as amended), these were hostile proceedings to be heard in open court.

The Law

The leading Jersey authority on anonymity remains JEP-v-Al Thani [2002] JLR 542 but the principles to be applied in trust cases was summarised by the Court In the matter of the representation of the Sanne Trust Company Limited whereby the following was held:

justice must be done in public in Jersey considerable importance is attached to the confidentiality of private trusts and hence administrative applications under Article 51 of the Trusts Law are customarily heard in private; An application for rectification is not an administrative matter of that kind because (i) there is no public interest is sparing the blushes of professional advisers who have made mistakes; (ii) it can be said that there is public interest in ensuring that such mistakes are put into the public domain so clients can be made aware of them; and (iii) exercise of the court's discretion may affect others, particularly tax authorities. Public justice verses confidentiality can be achieved by sitting in public and redacting the Court's judgement so names are not visible, but this does not apply to mistakes by professional advisers unless it would reveal the public exposure of private family arrangements which...

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