Jersey: Do The Objects Of A Mere Power Have The Rights To Sue Their Trustees?

Last Updated: 25 February 2009
Article by Steve Meiklejohn

Most Read Contributor in Jersey, September 2016

Sarah Daile Freeman and others -v- Ansbacher Trustees (Jersey) Limited [2009] JRC003

Facts and Decision


This judgment arose out of an application by Ansbacher Trustees (Jersey) Limited (the "Trustee") to strike out a claim made by Sarah Daile Freeman ("Sarah"), Robert Keith Freeman ("Robert") and Rosanna Freeman ("Rosanna", and together the "Beneficiaries") for damages arising from breach of trust.

The JB Sims No.1 Jersey Settlement (the "Trust") was a standard discretionary trust which had been established under Jersey law on 4 May 1978. The Trustee was the original sole trustee of the Trust from its inception up until 14 August 1998 when a number of individuals including Kenneth George Freeman ("Mr Freeman") and his wife Pauline Ann Freeman ("Mrs Freeman") were appointed to act as co-trustees with the Trustee (Mr Freeman being the father of the Beneficiaries and the most significant settlor of assets into the Trust). Subsequently, the Trustee resigned from office as a co-trustee of the Trust on 1 March 2000.

At all material times the sole significant asset of the Trust was the whole of the issued share capital of a Jersey company called S.D. & R. Trading Limited ("SDR") which in turn held a number of underlying assets.

On 14 December 2007 the Beneficiaries together issued an order of justice making a number of specific allegations of breach of trust against the Trustee relating to losses sustained in respect of a land transaction, a software deal and a tax claim. The Trustee responded by attempting to have the claim struck out without a substantive hearing on a number of grounds including prescription, the ability of the Trustee to rely on the exculpation provisions contained in the Trust documentation and the rule against the recovery of reflective loss. For the purposes of this note, however, the relevant ground upon which the Trustee sought to have the claims abandoned was that the Beneficiaries had no locus standi to sue the Trustee - i.e. that their status as potential recipients of benefit under the Trust did not constitute an interest sufficient enough to allow them to bring the claim.


The Trustee contended that the Trust could be analysed as including the following elements:

(i) a trust to accumulate income;

(ii) a mere power to appoint capital and/or income to the Beneficiaries during the trust period; and

(iii) a default trust to take effect at the end of the trust period to hold the Trust's assets in equal shares for the members of the beneficial class living at that time.

The Trustee contended (relying, inter alia, on the decision of the English High Court in Re Manisty's Settlement Trusts [1974] Ch 17) that there was a fundamental distinction between on the one hand the remedies available to individuals who were discretionary objects of a trust (i.e. where a settlement contains a trust to appoint capital and/or income together with a mere power to accumulate income) and on the other hand to individuals (as in the present case) who are simply discretionary objects of a mere power. The former class of individuals were entitled to seek the restitution of loss to a trust fund from a trustee who had committed a breach of trust, whereas the only remedy available to the second class of individuals (which included the position of the Beneficiaries) was to ask the Court to remove trustees who refused to consider exercising that mere power in their favour and to replace them with new trustees who would properly consider the exercise of that power.

The Beneficiaries, however, contended that in the light of more recent decisions (notably Schmidt -v- Rosewood (2003) All ER 76) the distinction between the rights to particular remedies of objects of trusts and objects of mere powers was no longer absolute but was rather a matter for the discretion of the Court to be made on a case by case basis.


Agreeing with the Beneficiaries on this point, the Court had no hesitation in holding that objects of a mere power were entitled to ask a court for the restitution of losses to a trust fund (or, for that matter, for any other equitable remedy which might be available to objects of a trust). The Court made it cleat that, in its view, the decision in Schmidt had superseded the earlier decision in Manisty and that there was no good reason to draw a "bright dividing line" between the nature of the contingent interest in trust assets of the discretionary objects of a trust and those of the discretionary objects of a mere power. The Court accordingly declined to strike out the claim on the basis that the Beneficiaries lacked locus standi to bring the action.


Whilst (for reasons of prescription) the claim of both Sarah and Robert was actually struck out by the Court, the claim of Rosanna was allowed to proceed. As well as providing a definitive and helpful clarification of the rights of the objects of mere powers to bring claims against trustees, this judgment also points the way towards the Court examining certain other issues of direct concern to trustees if Rosanna's claim eventually comes to trial. The most significant of these will be the degree to which the rule against the recovery of reflective loss should be applied to cases where the losses concerned have been suffered by a company that is wholly owned by a trust. Given the prevalence of this type of structure within the local trust industry professional trustees will wish to pay very close attention to the way in which this case develops.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.