Q&As

Can refusal to attend trustee meetings be used as evidence in a court application to remove a trustee?

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Produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 22/02/2018

The following Private Client Q&A produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can refusal to attend trustee meetings be used as evidence in a court application to remove a trustee?

The court’s power to remove a trustee (whether or not replacing them) derives from its inherent jurisdiction (section 41 of the Trustee Act 1925 is concerned with appointing a new trustee).

The law as to removal of a trustee can be summarised as follows:

The court, in its jurisdiction to see that trusts are properly executed, looks to ensure the custody and administration of the trust property is confided to the care of proper persons. The overriding guide in exercising this inherent jurisdiction of removal is, therefore, to the welfare of the beneficiaries and the competent administration of the trust in their favour (Thomas and Agnes Carvel Foundation v Carvel at para [46]).

The court has no hesitation in removing a trustee in the case of misconduct which amounts to an abuse of their position, such as to endanger the trust fund or show a want of proper capacity to execute their duties or of a want of reasonable fidelity, although not every mistake or neglect of duty or inaccuracy of conduct will be sufficient (Carvel at para [44] and Alkin v Raymond at para [27]).

Hostility, mistrust, lack of confidence or a breakdown of relations between co-trustees may also provide grounds for a trustee’s removal provided it is or is capable of affecting the administration of the trust (that it becomes impossible or difficult to continue to

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