On June 30 2016 Her Majesty's First Deemster, Deemster Doyle, delivered a judgment in the case of AB v CD, in which Kevin O'Loughlin and Christopher Arrowsmith of Simcocks acted for the Defendant trustee, CD, and Gillian Christian of Keystone Law and Robert Ham QC acted for the Claimant, AB. This is the first decision in the Isle of Man courts on the Hastings-Bass principle, and on the law relating to relief for equitable mistake following its reformulation by the UK Supreme Court in Pitt v Holt.
The facts of AB v CD are relatively straightforward, however the judgment has significant implications for professional trustees in the Isle of Man and potentially further afield, and for those who advise them. The main practical implication is that the court found that the trustee was in breach of duty because it failed to take sufficient steps in relation to the taking of tax advice relevant to its decision making process. The court could be regarded as placing an onus on trustees to take and consider, or ensure that there is taken and considered, tax advice on the consequences of trustee decisions.