Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility


Big things are happening at Ogier. Change is embedded in everything we do. It is redefining our talent, our ways of working, our platforms of delivery, our culture.



We have the expertise to handle the most demanding transactions. Our commercial understanding and experience of working with leading financial institutions, professional advisers and regulatory bodies means we add real value to clients’ businesses.

View all services

Business Services Team

View all Business Services Team


Our sector approach relies on smart collaboration between teams who have a deep understanding of related businesses and industry dynamics. The specific combination of our highly informed experts helps our clients to see around corners.

View all sectors


Ogier provides practical advice on BVI, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Irish, Jersey and Luxembourg law through our global network of offices across the Asian, Caribbean and European timezones. Ogier is the only firm to advise on this unique combination of laws.

News and insights

Keep up to date with industry insights, analysis and reviews. Find out about the work of our expert teams and subscribe to receive our newsletters straight to your inbox.

Fresh thinking, sharper opinion.

About us

We get straight to the point, managing complexity to get to the essentials. Our global network of offices covers every time zone. 

No Content Set

To see or not to see - Jersey's Royal Court provides guidance to trustees


28 September 2018


The Royal Court of Jersey, in the recently handed down judgment in M v W Limited & Ors: [2017]JRC168A, has provided useful guidance for trustees in circumstances, outside the context of discovery in adversarial litigation, where a beneficiary of a trust is seeking disclosure of trust information.

The application was heard in October 2017, and the Royal Court carefully considered the meaning of Article 29 of the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984 (the Law) (as it was in force at the time). The application was brought by one of the beneficiaries of a trust who was seeking delivery of a broad range of documents including: copies of all trust instruments; the latest accounts for the trust; the most recent financial statements for all underlying companies owned by the trust; and details of all distributions made from the trust.

Since the hearing of the application, Article 29 has been replaced by the Trusts (Amendment No 7) (Jersey) Law 1984 (see link to Ogier's briefing here). Notwithstanding the revisions to Article 29, the guidance offered by the Royal Court in M v W Limited is likely to remain persuasive, and offers trustees a useful reference point when faced with a request for disclosure of trust information from a beneficiary.

The following are the key points for trustees to take away from M v W Limited:

  • The starting point is that a beneficiary, whether of a fixed or discretionary trust or the object of a mere power, does not have an unqualified right to disclosure of any trust document
  • A beneficiary has an equitable interest entitling him or her to invoke the jurisdiction of the Royal Court to require the trustee to disclose any trust documents which the trustee has previously not agreed to disclose
  • A beneficiary also has, subject to any contrary order of the Court, a right under Article 29 of the Law to the disclosure of documents relating to, or forming part of, the accounts of the trust. The trust deed may provide to the contrary, but such a restriction will be less persuasive given the statutory presumption in favour of disclosure of this category of document. A beneficiary should be able to obtain disclosure of documents which show the financial position of the trust, what assets are in the trust, and how the trustee has dealt with those assets
  • On an application by a beneficiary for disclosure of trust documents (other than documents relating to or forming part of the trust accounts), the starting point adopted by the Court in exercising its discretion is that the beneficiary may see such documents. In exercising its discretion, the Court may consider a number of factors including:
    • the nature and immediacy of the beneficiary's interest;
    • the extent to which any disclosure might adversely affect the trust to the detriment of the class of beneficiaries as a whole;
    • the likely effectiveness of any measures put in place by the Court to mitigate any detrimental effect or risk of it;
    • the nature of the documents which the beneficiary wishes to see;
    • the extent to which non-disclosure would impede the ability to hold the trustee to account for its trusteeship; and
    • the proportionality of the disclosure request, having regard to the reasons expressed for it.
  • When considering applications of this type, the court is not concerned with determining whether the trustee was correct to refuse disclosure, or whether the beneficiary was correct to make an application for disclosure. Instead, the court will exercise its discretion afresh, and as part of its inherent discretion to supervise the administration of trusts
  • There is a distinction to be drawn between: i) documents relating to the exercise of dispositive powers by a trustee; and ii) documents relating to the financial position of the trust. The Court will more likely order disclosure of the latter class of documents than it will the former
  • There is also a distinction to be drawn between trust documents and company documents. A company document does not become a trust document simply by virtue of being in the hands of the trustee. It is however possible that a document may be regarded as both a company document a trust document. The distinction between trust and company documents may be of particular importance if it can be said that the trustee owes a duty of confidence to the company in respect of a company document which it holds. Generally speaking however, unless the trust and company have been administered as if the distinction between them was of no consequence, the principles of company law will prevail
  • While there is no general rule preventing a trustee from disclosing a company document to a beneficiary, the trustee should consider the interests of the company as a whole and consider whether disclosure would harm or aid such interest. This is particularly so given the obligation on the trustee to preserve and enhance the value of the trust assets

About Ogier

Ogier is a professional services firm with the knowledge and expertise to handle the most demanding and complex transactions and provide expert, efficient and cost-effective services to all our clients. We regularly win awards for the quality of our client service, our work and our people.


This client briefing has been prepared for clients and professional associates of Ogier. The information and expressions of opinion which it contains are not intended to be a comprehensive study or to provide legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for specific advice concerning individual situations.

Regulatory information can be found under Legal Notice

No Content Set