Archibald & anr v Stewart & anr [2024] WTLR 1

Spring 2024 #194

Rosemary and Malcolm were the adoptive parents of Neil and his younger brother Michael. Neil married Julie in 1999 and they had two children, who were young adults by the time of the hearing. Rosemary died on 10 June 2014 and Malcolm on 14 January 2021. Neil died on 25 June 2023 after proceedings had been issued.

Rosemary and Malcolm made wills in similar terms on 26 May 2009. Rosemary made a codicil dated 23 May 2014. Both left pecuniary legacies with the residue to be held under discretionary trusts for three classes of beneficiaries: a) the surviving spouse; b) their children a...

Butler & ors v Commissioners for HMRC [2024] WTLR 23

Spring 2024 #194

The deceased died on 15 May 2015. At her death she was a member of Tufton Warren Farm LLP. The other member was the trustees of her late husband’s will trust in which she had a life interest, which was treated as part of her estate for IHT purposes under s49(1) Inheritance Tax Act 1984. The LLP owned and ran a wedding venue location. Business property relief was claimed. HMRC issued notices of determination which stated no part of the LLP’s assets was relevant business property for the purposes of s104 Inheritance Tax Act 1984. A statutory review of the determinations led to them being u...

Clarke & ors v Shrewsbury and Atcham Constituency Labour Party & ors [2024] WTLR 67

Spring 2024 #194

James Morris (the settlor), a Labour Party councillor and businessman, settled two trusts (the trusts). This claim concerned the validity of the trusts, their rectification, a proprietary estoppel claim by a beneficiary, and the consequences of the trusts’ invalidity.

The first trust concerned Morris Hall, Bellstone Court, Bellstone, Shrewsbury (the hall), which Mr Morris transferred to himself and three others to hold pursuant to a declaration of trust dated 5 April 1934 (the hall trust).

Clause 1(g) of the hall trust provided:

‘After making provision for the funds ...

Dignam-Thomas & anr v McCourt & anr [2024] WTLR 105

Spring 2024 #194

The claimant sisters (aged 61 and 68) applied under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for provision out of the estate of their late father. The sole asset in the estate was the deceased’s home in which his son and sole beneficiary of his will, the second defendant (aged 72), continued to reside. The second defendant did not engage with the proceedings despite repeated service of court orders and correspondence, and concerns were raised as to his capacity to litigate. Trials were twice adjourned for capacity assessments to be undertaken, but the second defenda...

Dorey & ors v Ashton [2024] WTLR 121

Spring 2024 #194

The plaintiffs were three of the four children of the deceased, who died in 2015. They contended that the deceased lacked capacity when making wills in 2004. Instructions for the wills had been taken by the defendant, who had prepared them and supervised their execution. Had the wills not been made, the deceased’s estate would have passed to the plaintiffs and their sibling, subject to a life interest in realty for the deceased’s widow; the effect of the wills was to confer on the widow additional benefits. Following the death of the deceased, the plaintiffs and their sibling challenged ...

Hotel Portfolio II UK Ltd & anr v Ruhan & ors [2024] WTLR 145

Spring 2024 #194

This was an appeal against a decision of Foxton J ordering the second defendant to pay £102m in compensation for dishonest assistance along with nearly £60m in interest.

The first defendant had been a director of the first claimant. In breach of fiduciary duty, the first defendant had caused the first claimant to sell company assets related to several London hotels to a corporate purchaser in which the first defendant had an undisclosed interest. The sale was at an objectively reasonable market price. The purchaser later sold the hotels for a large profit (partly due to having dev...

King v King [2024] WTLR 177

Spring 2024 #194

Eric Stanley King (deceased), a divorcee, died intestate on 15 April 2021. Rule 22 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 (NCPR 1987) set out the order of priority for a grant of letters of administration on an intestacy; in this case, the persons entitled were the appellant and respondent (being the children of the deceased) and the three children of a third child who had predeceased the deceased. Where more than one person of the same degree was entitled to a grant, the court had a discretion as to which of them it should appoint as administrator. In this case the entitlement to a g...

Leeson & anr v McPherson [2024] WTLR 197

Spring 2024 #194

On 6 June 2017, Ms Leeson died in Denmark. Her husband, the defendant, was prosecuted and ultimately acquitted of her murder. After such acquittal, civil proceedings were issued alleging inter alia that the defendant unlawfully killed Ms Leeson and the inquest proceedings resumed. In the civil proceedings, the parties were ordered to and did produce a schedule of agreed facts. Such schedule was based on the disclosure in the civil proceedings, including third-party disclosure from the police. The claimants’ solicitors acting in the inquest proceedings asked for permission that such sched...

Nandakopan v Nandakopan [2024] WTLR 217

Spring 2024 #194

The deceased died intestate in 2020 with an estate worth around £120,000. He had married the claimant in January 1993, and they had a daughter, the defendant, in November 1993. They had an unhappy marriage and little family life, although they all continued to live together. In 2014, the deceased transferred the matrimonial home from his sole name to the joint names of him and the defendant as beneficial joint tenants, such that on his death his share of the property passed to the defendant. The property was worth around £450,000. In 2017, the claimant brought proceedings against the dec...

National Westminster Bank plc & ors v Ludlow Trust Co Ltd & ors [2024] WTLR 239

Spring 2024 #194

Each of the claimant banks were part of the NatWest Group and appointed as trustee of a number of trusts. Following the decision by the NatWest Group in 2019 to divest itself of its trusteeships and trust administration business, a bidding process was commenced seeking a replacement trustee for 3,946 trusts, both private and charitable, and the first defendant (Ludlow) was ultimately the successful bidder based upon a detailed scoring system. The trust administration business was transferred to Ludlow for £1 and Ludlow agreed to pay all of the claimants’ costs of transferring the various...