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The Investec Appeals – Privy Council Judgment

The Privy Council has given its long-awaited and highly significant judgment on 8 appeals concerning the administration of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust during the global financial crisis in 2007-08.

On 23 April 2018 the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council handed down judgment in the “Investec Appeals”, a series of 8 appeals from the Court of Appeal of Guernsey relating to the administration of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust against the backdrop of the global financial crisis in 2007-08, which were heard over four days in November 2017.

The appeals themselves raised multiple issues concerning the personal liability of trustees in the Channel Islands, common law principles of private international law, unjust enrichment, claims for breach of trust, trustee’s right of indemnity, abuse of process, and even human rights in a trusts context.  The Privy Council dismissed each of these appeals in favour of the former trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust, Investec Trust (Guernsey) Limited and Bayeux Trustees Limited.  The judgment contains the first discussion of the application and interpretation of Article 32 of the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984 concerning trustees’ liability to third parties.  It also recognises and articulates for the first time the general rule of private international law that the common law will recognise and give effect to limitations of liability which arise by reason of the status or capacity in which an obligation is assumed.

Thomas Fletcher appeared for the successful respondents, Investec Trust (Guernsey) Limited and Bayeux Trustees Limited, alongside 10 Old Square’s Simon Taube QC and Serle Court’s James Brightwell.

The neutral citation for the judgment is Investec Trust (Guernsey) Ltd & anor v Glenalla Properties Ltd & ors [2018] UKPC 7.  The judgment itself and the press summary can be found on the Privy Council’s website via the following link.