Mettoy Pension Trustees v Evans: ChD 1990

Where a trustee acts under a discretion given to him by the terms of the trust the court will interfere with his action if it is clear that he would not have so acted as he did had he not failed to take into account considerations which he ought to have taken into account. The exercise to be undertaken by the court in deciding whether the trustee has so acted, where it is claimed that the rule in Hastings-Bass applies, three questions arise. What were the trustees under a duty to consider? Did they fail to consider it? If so, what would they have done if they had considered it? Pensionsschemes may have to be considered against their fiscal background.
Warner J talked of the Hastings-Bass principle: ‘I have come to the conclusion that there is a principle which may be labelled the rule in Hastings-Bass. I do not think that the application of that principle is confined, as Mr Nugee suggested, to cases where an exercise by trustees of a discretion vested in them is partially ineffective because of some rule of law or because of some limit on their discretion which they overlooked. If, as I believe, the reason for the application of the principle is the failure of the trustees to take into account considerations that they ought to have taken into account, it cannot matter whether that failure is due to their having overlooked (or to their legal advisers having overlooked) some relevant rule of law or limit on their discretion, or is due to some other cause.
For the principle to apply, however, it is not enough that it should be shown that the trustees did not have a proper understanding of the effect of their act. It must also be clear that, had they had a proper understanding of it, they would not have acted as they did.’ and
‘In a case such as this, where it is claimed that the rule in Hastings-Bass applies, three questions arise: (1) What were the trustees under a duty to consider? (2) Did they fail to consider it? (3) If so, what would they have done if they had considered it?’
Warner J
[1990] 1 WLR 1587, [1991] 2 All ER 513
England and Wales
CitedRe Hastings-Bass; Hastings v Inland Revenue CA 14-Mar-1974
Trustees of a settlement had exercised their power of advancement under the section, in order to save estate duty by transferring investments to be held on the trusts of a later settlement. However the actual effect of the advancement was that the . .
FollowedIn re Courage Group’s Pension Schemes Ryan v Imperial Brewing and Leisure Ltd ChD 1987
It was possible to amend the provisions of a pension scheme provided the amendments did not conflict with the purposes of the scheme. How was a court to identify such purposes: ‘It is trite law that a power can be exercised only for the purpose for . .

Cited by:
CitedAbacus Trust Company (Isle of Man) Colyb Limited v Barr, Barr, and Barr ChD 6-Feb-2003
The court considered the Rule in Hastings-Bass, and specifically (1) whether the trustee’s decision is open to challenge when the failure to take a consideration into account is not attributable to a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the . .
CitedAMP (UK) Plc and Another v Barker and Others ChD 8-Dec-2000
The claimants were interested under a pension scheme. Alterations had been made, which the said had been in error, and they sought rectification to remove a link between early leaver benefits and incapacity benefits. The defendant trustees agreed . .
CitedNational Grid Co Plc v Mayes and Others; International Power Plc (Formerly National Power Plc) v Healy and Others HL 7-Jun-2001
The release by the trustees of a sum due to the pension scheme from the employers, did not make funds payable to the employer, so as to trigger the clause within the scheme trust deed which would restrain such a payment. Where an actuarial surplus . .
CitedBank of New Zealand v Board of Management of the Bank of New Zealand Officers’ Provident Association PC 14-Jul-2003
PC (New Zealand) The defendant operated a superannuation scheme for and on behalf of the officers of the bank it regulated. The trustees ought to amend the scheme, but it had been set up by statute.
Held: . .
DistinguishedStannard v Fisons Ltd; Stannard v Fisons Pensions Trust CA 2-Jan-1990
The purchaser of a business said that the company had made insufficient contributions to its pensions fund before the transfer, and sought payment of the sums underpaid. The defendants argued that, applying Hastings-Bass, unless that principle were . .
CitedSieff v Fox ChD 23-Jun-2005
The advisers to trustees wrongly advised the trustees about the tax consequences of exercising a power of appointment in a certain way. As a result a large unforeseen Capital Gains Tax liability arose. The trustees sought to set aside the . .
CitedIn Re Duxbury’s Settlement Trusts CA 21-Nov-1994
The Public trustee appealed against an order which had recognised his appointment under the 1959 trust, but had held that because of the explicit prohibition in the trust instrument against a trustee acting alone, he could not act.
Held: . .
CitedGomez and others v Vives CA 3-Oct-2008
The claimant appealed a finding that the court did not have jurisdiction over income payable to a trust governed by English law under which the claimant was beneficiary.
Held: The appeal failed in part. Because Article 5 is in derogation from . .
CitedPitt and Another v Holt and Others ChD 18-Jan-2010
The deceased had created a settlement in favour of his wife. He suffered serious injury and placed the damages in trust, but in a form which created an unnecessary liability to Inheritance Tax on his death. The wife’s mental health act receiver now . .
CitedPitt and Another v Holt and Another ChD 18-Jan-2010
The claimant sought to unravel a settlement she had made as receiver for her late husband, saying that it had been made without consideration of its Inheritance Tax implications. The Revenue said that there was no operative mistake so as to allow . .
CitedFutter and Another v Futter and Others ChD 11-Mar-2010
Various family settlements had been created. The trustees wished to use the rule in Hastings-Bass to re-open decisions they had made after receiving incorrect advice.
Held: The deeds were set aside as void. The Rule in Hastings-Bass derives . .
CitedFutter and Another v Revenue and Customs; Pitt v Same SC 9-May-2013
Application of Hastings-Bass Rule
F had created two settlements. Distributions were made, but overlooking the effect of section 2(4) of the 2002 Act, creating a large tax liability. P had taken advice on the investment of the proceeds of a damages claim and created a discretionary . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 March 2021; Ref: scu.181649