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Bartlett V. Barclays Bank Notes

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Bartlett V. Barclays Bank Revision

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BARTLETT V. BARCLAYS BANK FACTS Sir Herbert Bartlett made a settlement for the benefit of his wife and issue, the settled property consisting of debenture stock and 498 (later 499) shares in Bartlett Trust Ltd. (BTL) which had been incorporated in the previous May to manage properties owned by Sir Herbert and his wife. The trustee was Barclays Bank Ltd. The affairs of the trust were conducted at the City office of the bank's trustee department. The board of BTL held regular monthly meetings which were meticulously minuted. During 1960 money had to be raised for death duties and the board was asked to examine the possibility of the introduction of BTL's shares and debentures on to the Stock Exchange. At the same time Mr. Roberts suggested that investments should be made in more risky properties yielding 10 per cent. instead of the 6 per cent. obtained for more steady types of property. The board re-stated its investment policy to dispose of leasehold properties in favour of freehold. Messrs. Reed Hurst & Brown, stockbrokers, advised that the shares of the company would be more attractive if the company had a development aspect, and when the board so informed Mr. Mahony he said that the bank would give that favourable consideration provided the life tenants were not left short of income during the development period. From then on Mr. Roberts introduced a number of development projects which he considered would bring benefit to the trust estate, but divulged to the bank at the annual general meetings only such small items of information as he thought appropriate, and without consulting them. Towards the end of 1962 Mr. Roberts and the board embarked on a development known as the Old Bailey Scheme which caused the damage to the trust. The only reason given to the bank for BTL's entering into development projects had been that it would assist a public issue but, on the basis that there was to be no public issue, the bank did not question the need for development projects. In August 1977 a writ was issued against Barclays Bank Trust Co. Ltd., the plaintiffs being Sir Basil Bartlett and six other grandchildren of the original settlor. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant trustee was liable to make good to the trust fund all loss accruing by reason of it having permitted BTL and BTH to engage in property development, and they sought inquiries to establish their loss. The plaintiff's claim was that the bank, had it acted in time, could by reason of its shareholding have stopped the board of BTL

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