On appeal from: [2011] EWCA Civ 197

Two appeals raising issues about the rule in Hastings-Bass, which is concerned with trustees who make decisions without having given proper consideration to relevant matters which they ought to have taken into account. In addition, the second appeal raises issues as to the court’s jurisdiction to set aside a voluntary disposition on the ground of mistake.

Held: For the rule in Hastings-Bass to apply, the inadequate deliberation on the part of the trustees must be sufficiently serious as to amount to a breach of fiduciary duty. It is not enough to show that the trustees’ deliberations have fallen short of the highest possible standards, or that the court would have acted in a different way. The requirement for rescission on grounds of mistake is simply for there to be a causative mistake of sufficient gravity. The Court must make an evaluative judgment whether it would be unconscionable to leave the mistake uncorrected, and form a judgment about the justice of the case.

For judgment, please download: [2013] UKSC 26
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII