Breach of Fiduciary Obligations

Millet LJ in Bristol and West Building Society v Mothew [1998] Ch1 ,18 stated:

“Breach of fiduciary obligations, therefore, connotes disloyalty or infidelity. Mere incompetence is not enough. A servant who loyally does his incompetent best for his mater is not unfaithful and is not guilty of a breach of fiduciary duty.”

However a breach of a duty of care which is both advertent (“wilful default”) and made dishonestly, that is not with the beneficiaries’ best interests in view, becomes fraud on the equity side as well as a breach of duty of care at law. {Armitage v Nurse [1998] Ch 241, 251 (CA)

Kekewich J writing of a grossly negligent corporate director has this to say in Re Second East Dulwich 745th Starr-Bowkett Building Society (1889) 68 LJCh 196, 198:

“He is acquitted of dishonesty in the usual sense of the word. But in another sense he is not honest. It seems to me that a man who accepts such a trusteeship, and does nothing,…. never asks for explanation, and accepts flimsy explanations, is dishonest.”


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This tab updated on 11 August 2015