JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Debate on the Trust Act 2019, which seeks to provide a modern legal framework for the governance of Trusts, opened during Friday’s (June 7) sitting of the Senate.
  • Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who piloted the Bill, pointed out that regulation of the conduct of Trustees is governed by the 1897 Trustee Act, which she noted “is clearly no longer in sync with today’s commercial climate or indeed, common law.”
  • As such, the Bill is intended to implement a strong, modern, clear and comprehensive law that will support measures for the modernisation and diversification of the economy.

Debate on the Trust Act 2019, which seeks to provide a modern legal framework for the governance of Trusts, opened during Friday’s (June 7) sitting of the Senate.

Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who piloted the Bill, pointed out that regulation of the conduct of Trustees is governed by the 1897 Trustee Act, which she noted “is clearly no longer in sync with today’s commercial climate or indeed, common law.”

As such, the Bill is intended to implement a strong, modern, clear and comprehensive law that will support measures for the modernisation and diversification of the economy.

It will, among other things, codify the common law, repeal the 1897 Act, provide savings and transitional provisions for continuity, and preserve the validity and enforceability of Trusts legally created.

“The Bill seeks to not only update the legislative framework but it seeks to address the needs of a modern economy in which the investment community has increased its use of Trusts as a vehicle to enhance the returns that may be earned on the assets that are comprised in the Trust,” she said.

Mrs. Johnson Smith pointed out that stakeholders in the international financial services sector as well as domestic trust service providers will be supported by this legislation.

“We have already taken action to support the corporate governance environment through amendments to the Companies Act and the passage of two new partnership Acts, and passage of this Bill will be another significant step in furthering the mandate of the international financial services regime,” she noted.

She noted that the Bill includes provisions that will strengthen the regulatory environment and accountability standards to which Trustees are to adhere, and further bolster the protective measures for persons affected by the terms of a Trust, or who provide services related to the Trust, inclusive of Trustees.

“These measures include the appointment of enforcers to ensure that the terms of the Trust are executed by the Trustee,” she said.

The Bill further identifies the property that may be held in Trust and establishes the procedure for the appointment and removal of Trustees.

It includes provisions for the keeping of accounts, impartiality, the giving of information, the separation of Trust and property, and the preservation of Trust property.

The Bill also provides for the power to relieve Trustees from personal liability and indemnification of Trustees by beneficiaries, and for the settlement of actions against Trustees by alternative dispute resolution.

Debate on the Bill was suspended until a date to be announced.