Bermuda introduces new Hastings-Bass law

20 August 2014

Bermuda introduces new Hastings-Bass law

Bermuda has recently enacted legislation putting the Rule in Re Hastings-Bass onto a statutory footing. The Trustee Amendment Act 2014 gives the court a new jurisdiction to set aside the flawed exercise of fiduciary powers. This new jurisdiction is broadly the same as that thought to exist at common law prior to the decisions of the UK Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in Pitt v Holt; Futter v Futter.

The new Bermuda legislation follows on from a similar reform in Jersey, although the Bermuda law has some interesting distinguishing features – including the application of the jurisdiction to the flawed exercise of all fiduciary powers, regardless of whether they are operated in the context of a trust or in respect of trust property.

Following the decision of this key offshore jurisdiction to place the Rule in Re Hastings-Bass on a statutory footing, it is clear that, regardless of its origins in a confused reading of the ratio of Re Hastings-Bass deceased [1975] Ch 25 itself, this useful jurisdiction is now a secure fixture in the offshore world. It is only a matter of time before the other prime offshore jurisdictions follow suit with their own statutory interpretations of the Rule in Re Hastings-Bass.

Andrew Holden of XXIV Old Buildings assisted the government of Bermuda in drafting the new law.