Jamaica News: The Senate on Friday (June 21), approved the Trusts Act, 2019, which seeks to create a modern statutory instrument as it relates to the most pertinent principles of Trust law.
The legislation addresses the creation, validity, duration and enforceability of Trusts; identifies the property that may be held on Trust; and establishes the procedure for the appointment and removal of Trustees.
Closing the debate on the Bill in the Senate, Leader of Government Business and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith, said it will codify the common law in relation to Trusts, repeal the Trustees Act and amend sections 2, 7 and 21 of the Trustees, Attorneys and Executors (Accounts and General) Act, 1973.
It also seeks to provide savings and transitional provisions for continuity, and preserve the validity and enforceability of Trusts.
“The intention behind these Acts is to modernise our Trusts law and to ensure that we are able to pull together a suite of legislation in support of the international financial services sector, which will provide us with an effective opportunity for us to deliver higher level, higher value and higher skill jobs to our people and also to ensure that the framework for Trusts and the protection that is provided to beneficiaries, settlers and Trustees is more robust,” she said.
Contributing to the debate last week, Opposition Senator, Lambert Brown, raised a concern with the definition of personal relationships in Clause 2 – ‘Every form of relationship by blood, adoption, marriage or cohabitation, regardless of whether the law of any jurisdiction recognises the validity, legitimacy or existence of the relationship’.
In response, Senator Johnson Smith said the Act in its current state does nothing to change the constitutional provision by which marriage is defined, it does not permit same sex marriage, and it does not amend any other legislation which relates to that matter.
She said Clause 5 (2) (a) and (b) are instructive, as Clause 5 (2) states quite clearly that a Trust is invalid and unenforceable in Jamaica to the extent that (a) it purports to do anything contrary to the laws of Jamaica; and (b) it confers or imposes any right or function, the exercise or discharge of which would be contrary to the laws of Jamaica.
The Bill includes provisions that will strengthen the regulatory environment and accountability standards to which Trustees are to adhere; and further, it bolsters the protective measures for persons who are affected by the terms of a Trust or provides services related to the Trust, inclusive of Trustees.
It further identifies the property that may be held in Trust and establishes the procedure for the appointment and removal of Trustees.
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.
Source: JIS News