Limitation period for breach of fiduciary duty – 3 years or 10?

  1. It has never been clearly decided what limitation period applies in Jersey to a claim alleging breach of fiduciary duty against a company director or other fiduciary. There have been judgments pointing in different directions. Some suggested it was 10 years; others more recently have inclined towards 3 years.
  2. A new judgment of the Royal Court may point the way to a resolution. The recent judgment of the Master in CMC Holdings Ltd and another v Forster, RBC Trust Company (International) Ltd and another supports the 3 year period for non-fraudulent breaches of fiduciary duty. It does this by applying Article 57 of the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984.

Jersey limitation periods

  1. The customary law limitation period for personal actions involving property other than land (actions personnelles mobilieres) is 10 years, unless statute provides for a different period or unless the court concludes that by analogy with a different cause of action a different period should be applied. This was established in In re Esteem Settlement when the Royal Court said (at para 257):-“We think that the time has come to hold that the 10-year period referred to by Le Geyt is a general period which should be taken to apply to all personal actions and all actions concerning movables, save to the extent that they have already been held to be subject to a different period, e.g. tort, actions concerning estates etc., or that some other period is, by analogy, clearly more applicable.”
  2. In cases of breach of contract there is no doubt that the period is 10 years at customary law. In tort claims, the period is 3 years.

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