Disclosure of trust documents by beneficiaries

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This is a follow-up to the article on the joinder of beneficiaries to English divorce proceedings in Withers’ Family Law News of September 2013. In the case of Tchenguiz — Imerman v Imerman [2013] (in which Diana Parker and Michael Gouriet represented the wife), Mr Justice Moylan has handed down a further judgment explaining the rationale for his decision to order disclosure of trust documents by adult beneficiaries who had been joined to English divorce proceedings where the trusts of which they were beneficiaries were the subject of a variation claim.

Contrary to its normal practice, but owing to the unusual circumstances of the case, the Royal Court of Jersey gave permission to the beneficiaries to make disclosure, but firmly invited the English Family Court not to require the disclosure to be made — perceiving that the material was ‘highly unlikely’ to add to the English court’s ‘relevant knowledge’ about the trusts.

The judge commented that while information had been disclosed regarding the structure of the trust (for example trust deeds and schedules of trust assets), very little information had been provided on ‘the critical question of whether the trustee was likely, immediately or in the foreseeable future, to exercise its powers in favour of or in some way for the benefit of the husband’…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Withers briefing.