The Pensioneer Trustee Company (Guernsey) Limited
T +44 (0) 1481 743760
What is the background to this case?
The case relates to a funded unapproved retirement benefits scheme (or FURBS) which is a Guernsey trust and holds assets of significant value, for the benefit of the sole member of the FURBS but also, if he dies, his wife. The husband and wife are going through a divorce in England and the wife sought to join the trustee into the family proceedings for the purposes of disclosure – i.e. she wanted to know what assets were vested in the trust.
What legal issues does it involve?
This is the first time that a Guernsey trustee has sought assistance from the Royal Court of Guernsey for directions as to whether or not it should submit to the jurisdiction of a foreign court. This is because, in common with other offshore jurisdictions, Guernsey trust law has a firewall which confers exclusive jurisdiction on the Royal Court over matters concerning Guernsey trusts, and so asking the Royal Court to approve the submission to a foreign jurisdiction (even for specific purposes such as those involved in this case) is a significant step to take for any Guernsey trustee.