As I was recently researching the duty of trustees, I stumbled upon a term that I might fully have expected to have found in a Dr. Seuss book rather than a legal text. I shall use it in the context in which it appears, as a subject title, although I doubt this will help you figure out what it means:
Dishonourable duty to “gazump”
I found the whole passage so fascinating that I shall reproduce it for your enjoyment and potential enlightenment:
“Where trustees who have entered into negotiations for the sale of trust property receive a subsequent higher offer from another party they should at least probe the subsequent offer irrespective of questions of commercial morality which might have led a vendor who was not a trustee to close the deal with the original purchaser. Nevertheless, the trustees retain such a discretion as will allow them to act with proper prudence, and may pray in aid the commonsense rule underlying the old proverb “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”; so that there may be cases in which they could properly refuse a higher offer and proceed with a lower one.”
Underhill & Hayton, “The Law of Trusts and Trustees” (London: LexisNexis Butterworths, 2007) at page 716
Click here for the Wikipedia definition of gazumping and its opposite, gazundering (just for fun). Here is a link to a gazumping reference in a 2006 judgment, just in case you don’t believe me – see paragraph 45.
There are a couple of lessons to be learned here. The first is that not all legal terms need be Latin or pretentious-sounding. The second is that while the law may apparently foist a dishonourable duty upon (poor unsuspecting) trustees, if they happen to be holding a bird in one hand they will probably be okay.
I’ll bet every Who in Whoville already knew that.
Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.
Cases for Increasing and Decreasing Compensation – Hull on Estates and Succession Planning podcast #122
Listen to Cases for Increasing and Decreasing Compensation.
This week on Hull on Estates and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana discuss cases for increasing and decreasing compensation.