Reported decisions on the circumstances in which the protector
of a trust may be removed from office by the court are few and far
between, and have previously been confined to the most extreme
situations – for example those in which the protector had
misappropriated trust funds, or else was pursuing claims against
Now the recent decision of the Royal Court of Jersey in The
Matter of The A and B Trusts  JRC 169A, which was handed
down in 2012 but can only now be made public, has shed considerable
new light on the circumstances in which a Protector may be removed,
and on the appropriate test.
The facts of the case cannot fully be reported for reasons of
confidentiality, but they can be summarised as follows.
The applicants comprised the majority of the adult
beneficiaries of two Jersey trusts. They sought the removal
of the protector on a number of grounds, but principally that he
mistakenly believed his role to be to act as the living guardian of
the (deceased) settlors' wishes and that he was accordingly
either uninterested or hostile towards them. They also
alleged that he had failed on a number of specific occasions
properly to supervise the actions of the trustee or to ensure that
the interests of the beneficiaries remained paramount.
The court had regard to the decision of Lord Blackburn in
Letterstedt v Broers and held that – as with a trustee
– the appropriate test was whether the continuance of the
protector 'would be detrimental to the execution of the
trusts'. It went on to hold that the power to remove was
not confined to exceptional circumstances, and that where mutual
hostility and distrust had led to a breakdown in relations between
protector and beneficiaries which was detrimental to the execution
of the trusts, this would suffice for removal in the absence of any
The court concluded that in this case although the protector had
acted in all times in good faith, he bore much of the
responsibility for the state of affairs. It therefore removed
him from office and appointed a replacement protector.
Fraser Robertson and Jared Dann of Appleby's Jersey
office acted for the successful beneficiaries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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