The background to the hearing on 13 January relates to a company called Alliance Aviation Ltd, which was previously administered by WJB Chilterns Trust Company (Jersey) Ltd but is now administered by Sovereign Trust International Ltd.
According to the judgment, at the end of 2003 and early 2004 Sovereign requested certain information, specifically correspondence, from Chilterns about Alliance Aviation.
Chilterns said they would not provide that information without a court order and Sovereign subsequently filed a representation.
Two days before the hearing in March Chilterns sent an e-mail offering access to the files, but the offer was never taken up and at the hearing Chilterns was ordered to produce the accounts.
Since then there have been ‘various skirmishes’ about information and costs.
In the judgment published last week the Deputy Bailiff, Michael Birt, said it had been ‘quite wrong’ for Chilterns to refuse access initially, since ‘correspondence files written by an administrator whilst administering a company are just as much part of the company records – in the sense that the company is entitled to have access to them – as are other documents’.
He said that Sovereign had been entitled to bring the representation, but that the firm acted unreasonably in not pursuing the offer from Chiltern, which would have meant that proceedings would not have been necessary.
Mr Birt said criticism could be laid against both parties.
‘I am certainly of the view that Chilterns must pay a substantial percentage of the costs because ultimately these proceedings arose because of their failure to produce the information voluntarily.
‘As against that I think the matter could have been dealt with by agreement if Sovereign had responded positively to the offer in March and I think that some costs since then have been incurred unnecessarily.
The court has ordered Chilterns to pay two-thirds of the costs and to provide answers to further questions from Sovereign, as requested.