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Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Wilberforce Chambers

Wilberforce Chambers

Joanne Wicks QC weighs up the best approach to take when pre-contract enquiries are found wanting

Greenridge Luton One Ltd v Kempton Investments Ltd [2016] is a quietly interesting case. It does not trumpet out new legal principle or noisily trample accepted wisdom, but it nevertheless provides some useful lessons for practitioners, both transactional lawyers and litigators, and some warnings for buyers and sellers of property too.

Paul Newman QC examines claims for trust documents under the Data Protection Act 1998, with reference to Dawson-Damer v Taylor Wessing LLP [2016]

Disgruntled beneficiaries seeking documents on which to base claims for breach of trust must either seek disclosure from trustees under general equitable principles, or else commence proceedings and seek disclosure under the Civil Procedure Rules. The former requires the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the beneficiary and the latter is only possible if there is sufficient evidence on which to have commenced proceedings in the first place.

In Freedman v Freedman, Clare Stanley QC analyses HMRC’s arguments against rescission of a voluntary disposition due to mistake

This article examines the recent decision of Mrs Justice Proudman in Freedman v Freedman [2015], which is the first mistake application since Pitt v Holt [2013] that HMRC actively opposed. The grounds for HMRC’s resistance, although unsuccessful in Freedman, are useful and important to inform practitioners as to the possible pitfalls facing future applications, and the areas which still remain unresolved following Pitt.

Mark Studer reflects on the lessons from Wright v National Westminster Bank Plc [2014]

Prior to the decision of the Supreme Court in Pitt v Holt [2013], the English law of equitable mistake in relation to voluntary dispositions left some room for contention, especially where an intending donor or settlor had entered into such a transaction under a misapprehension as to its fiscal consequences. In Gibbon v Mitchell [1990] Millett J had held that, wherever there was a voluntary transaction by which one party intended to confer a bounty on another, the court would set aside the operative deed if it was satisfied that the disponor did not intend the transaction to have the effect which it did, provided that the mistake in question (whether of law or of fact) was a mistake as to the effect of the transaction itself, and not merely as to its consequences or the advantages to be gained by entering into it. This distinction between ‘effects’ and ‘consequences’ was not easily understood, but it was generally interpreted to mean that a mistake by the disponor as to the treatment of the transaction for tax purposes would be outside the scope of the relief.

Brudenell-Bruce offers salutary lessons about the self-dealing rule, as Simon Atkinson explains

For chancery practitioners Brudenell-Bruce (Earl of Cardigan) v Moore and Cotton [2012] provides valuable guidance in a number of areas. The judgment of Newey J touches on the construction of deeds, the distinction in land law between fixtures and chattels, and self-dealing by trustees.

IBM United Kingdom Pensions Trust Ltd v IBM United Kingdom Holdings Ltd updates the position on rectification and pension trusts. Emily Campbell looks at the implications

The area of rectification is a fertile source of case law. In the context of wills and trusts, many of the cases on rectification are found in the area of pension scheme trusts. The reason for this is that pension scheme trust deeds are hugely complex documents and the scope for making drafting errors is therefore very substantial. Those who advise in the area may look at a subtle error that has crept into a 150-page ‘Definitive Deed and Rules’ and feel great sympathy for the draftsman, who had in some respects taken on the task of Hercules. Further, the types of error which are encountered typically create seven-figure sums worth of additional funding liabilities for the employer.

Emily Campbell looks at recent cases that help to define the role of trustees in litigation

A traditional analysis would suggest that there are two main types of claim in litigation concerning a trust, ie ‘external’ disputes and ‘internal’ disputes, although this is not necessarily the language used by judges. It is often difficult to categorise litigation concerning trusts, in particular disputes concerning a challenge to the validity of the trust. Similar comments can be made about litigation concerning estates, although this article focuses on litigation concerning trusts.

Jonathan Hilliard provides a welcome review of information rights under trusts from Schmidt v Rosewood up to present day

A key difficulty for trustees faced with a request for information from a current or former trust insider is the possibility that a court will take a different view to them about whether disclosure should be given.