In re J W Laing Trust: ChD 1984

The trust was first created in 1922 with a gift of 15,000 shares worth pounds 15,000 ‘the proceeds of which and the dividends thereon from time to time declared and paid … to be devoted to charitable purposes, it being understood that the capital and income is to be wholly distributed’ within the settlor’s lifetime or within 10 years of his death. The settlor died in 1978. By the 1982 financial year the value of the trust assets had grown to be in excess of pounds 24 million and in that year generated an income exceeding pounds 1.2 million.
Held: The Court approved a scheme, in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction, discharging a trustee from an obligation to distribute the trust capital and accumulated income within 10 years of the death of the settlor.
Peter Gibson J said: ‘In my judgment, the plaintiff has made out a very powerful case for the removal of the requirement as to distribution, which it seems to me to be inexpedient in the very altered circumstances of the charity since that requirement was laid down 60 years ago. I take particular account of the fact that this application is one that has the support of the Attorney-General. Although the plaintiff is not fettered by the express terms of the gift as to the charitable purposes for which the charity’s funds are to be applied, it is, in my view, proper for the plaintiff to wish to continue to support the causes which the settlor himself wished the charity to support from its inception, and which would suffer if that support was withdrawn as a consequence of the distribution of the charity’s assets. I have no hesitation in reaching the conclusion that the court should, in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction approve a scheme under which the trustees for the time being of the charity will be discharged from the obligation to distribute the capital within 10 years if the death of the settlor. I shall discuss with counsel the precise form of order that is appropriate’
Peter Gibson J
[1984] Ch 143
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedLehtimaki and Others v Cooper SC 29-Jul-2020
Charitable Company- Directors’ Status and Duties
A married couple set up a charitable foundation to assist children in developing countries. When the marriage failed an attempt was made to establish a second foundation with funds from the first, as part of W leaving the Trust. Court approval was . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 29 August 2021; Ref: scu.653169