I’ve Got the Power: Saunders v Vautier in the Context of Massively Discretionary Trusts

In two judgments in 2019 and 2020, the Guernsey Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the Guernsey Royal Court in Rusnano Capital AG (in liquidation) v Molard International (PTC) Limited and Pullborough International Corp [2019] GRC 011 in relation to the statutory “Saunders v Vautier” provisions under the Trusts (Guernsey) Law, 2007. The position, in Guernsey at least, remains therefore that beneficiaries of a discretionary trust can require trustees to terminate a trust and distribute the trust property, even in circumstances where a broad power to add further (unspecified) beneficiaries exists. This article considers the position, on any view unsettled, in England and Wales (as well as other jurisdictions which still rely on the common law interpretation) of the so-called rule in Saunders v Vautier in light of the somewhat contradictory case law and authorities, particularly in the context of trusts where the dispositive discretions effectively displace the beneficial interests.

This article, by Rupert Morris of Walkers' Guernsey Private Capital & Trusts Practice Group, and Jessica Clark-Jones of XXIV Old Buildings, is published by Trusts & Trustees.

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