In Bhaur & Ors v Equity First Trustees (Nevis) Ltd & Ors [2021] EWHC 2581 (CH), the High Court denied a request to set aside an Employee Benefit Trust scheme on the grounds of mistake despite attempts by the offshore trustees to give 90% of the trust value to the NSPCC as the default beneficiary. 

Mr and Mrs Bhaur ran a property partnership which they incorporated with around 35 properties. Legal title to the properties was not transferred and was retained by Mr and Mrs Bhaur.

The High Court dismissed the case and refused to set aside the scheme.

The judge referred to the new structure as a ‘dangerous game of double or quits’ which was consciously played and which strongly suggested there was no mistake when the Bhaur family first entered into the scheme. He made orders that the property be held on the terms of the second trust under the jurisdiction of Nevis law. He enjoined the trustees from doing anything in the relation to the trust on a temporary basis to enable the relevant courts in Nevis to properly determine what should happen with the trust, noting that whilst he may wish to go further, this was outside of his jurisdiction.

Useful guides on this topic

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Non-resident trusts
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External link

Bhaur & Ors v Equity First Trustees (Nevis) Ltd & Ors [2021] EWHC 2581 (CH) 

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