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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32086
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My cricket club has Trustees since the trust began in the 1920s.

Customer Question

My cricket club has Trustees since the trust began in the 1920's. The cricket club are the beneficiaries. Three of the four trustees want to build houses on part of the ground. Is it legal for them to sit on the development committee? I thought they must remain impartial? Also do the cricket club members have a legal right to see the trust document? As there there may be clauses in the trust that don't allow the sale of land if it isn't proved necessary. I don't believe the Trustees have any evidence to back up their decision to sell assets. I don't believe they are acting with due care and attention.
Any answers to these questions gratefully received.
Regards Michael.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is AJ and I will assist you today.

Is the property owned by a limited company or directly by the trust. What does the trust document say about how property of the trust should be dealt with? Does it say for "the benefit of the beneficiaries as a whole"? As the trust is fairly old it may have some similar but more flowerly language but can you let me know what it says?

Is there any section on conflict of interest?

Potentially the trustees who are serving there own interest are in breach of their Fiduciary Duties. The consequences of this are serious and some times can lead to criminal liability.

If you can respond to me on the above I will respond with more detail.

Please do not be concerned if you dont hear from me right away. I will respond over the course of the weekend.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi. Thanks for your reply. The ground is directly owned by the trustees.As a member of the cricket club i haven't seen the trust document. But one of my questions is as a beneficiary member of the cricket club do i have a legal right to request to see a copy of the trust

document before any development plans are made? My concerns are there may be restrictions within it that the beneficiaries don't know about. Can the trustees refuse to let me see a copy of the trust?

Regards Michael.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you.

There is no obligation on a trustees to disclose the trust deed to the beneficiaries. If the Beneficiaries are not happy with what the trustees are doing they could seek to remove them.

Trustees generally have four key fiduciary duties:
1. Not to Act in Conflict;
2. Not to make a secret profit;
3. Maintain confidentiality;
4.Undivided loyalty to the beneficiaries.

If the trustees are selling trust property to themselves they will almost certainly be in breach of these duties. Therefore they will need beneficiary approval.

If the beneficiaries cannot see the trust does the club have a separate charter or constitution? This will likely mirror the trust where possible and will include a voting procedure for dealing with the trustees.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards