Sieff 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 appointment in reliance on the rule in Hastings-Bass. It was also sought to avoid the transaction on account of a mistake by an individual personally.
Held: Lloyd LJ upheld the claim under both heads, summarising the Hastings-Bass principle: ‘(i) The best formulation of the principle seems to me to be this. Where trustees act under a discretion given to them by the terms of the trust, in circumstances in which they are free to decide whether or not to exercise that discretion, but the effect of the exercise is different from that which they intended, the court will interfere with their action if it is clear that they would not have acted as they did had they not failed to take into account considerations which they ought to have taken into account, or taken into account considerations which they ought not to have taken into account . .
(iii) It does not seem to me that the principle applies only in cases where there has been a breach of duty by the trustees, or by their advisers or agents, despite what Lightman J. said in Abacus Trust Co (Isle of Man) v Barr [2003] Ch 409.
(iv) His conclusion that, if the principle is satisfied, the act in question is voidable rather than void is attractive, but seems to me to require further consideration, in the light of earlier authority.
(v) I am in no doubt that, as a general proposition, fiscal consequences are among the matters which may be relevant for the purposes of the principle.’

Lloyd LJ
[2005] 1 WLR 3811, [2005] EWHC 1312 (Ch)
England and Wales
CitedStannard v Fisons Pension Trust Limited CA 1991
Fisons had sold their fertiliser division to Norsk Hydro. Acting on advice of actuaries and thinking that the fund was in deficit, the trustees made a transfer to a new fund to provide for pensions of transferring employees in accordance with a . .
CitedMettoy 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 . .
CitedMihlenstedt v Barclays Bank International CA 1989
The company’s pension scheme provided that the trustees were to form an opinion as to the employee’s ability or otherwise to work. The plaintiff sought payment of an ill-health pension under the Bank Pension Scheme.
Held: A pension scheme . .
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 . .

Cited by:
CitedSt Mary and St Michael Parish Advisory Company Ltd v The Westminster Roman Catholic Diocese Trustee, Her Majesty’s Attorney Genera and others ChD 6-Apr-2006
Parish members objected to the building within the church grounds of an education centre. They said that the land was to be used for the purposes of the members of the parish only under a trust deed of 1851.
Held: The deed had to be construed . .
CitedKohli v Lit and Others ChD 13-Nov-2009
The claimant asserted that the other shareholders had acted in a manner unfairly prejudicial to her within the company.
Held: The claimant was allowed to bring in without prejudice correspondence to contradict evidence by the defendant which . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Trusts, Capital Gains Tax

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.227061