Duke of Somerset v Fitzgerald & ors [2019] EWHC 726 (Ch)

WTLR Issue: Autumn 2019 #176

THE MOST NOBLE JOHN MICHAEL EDWARD, DUKE OF SOMERSET DL

V

1. PETER ROBIN FITZGERALD

2. JOHN SAMUEL CHRISTOPHER EIDINOW

3.THE MOST NOBLE JUDITH-ROSE DUCHESS OF SOMERSET

4. SEBASTIAN EDWARD LORD SEYMOUR

5. LORD CHARLES THOMAS GEORGE SEYMOUR

6. LADY SOPHIA ROSE SEYMOUR

7. LADY HENRIETTA CHARLOTTE SEYMOUR

8. FRANCIS CHARLES EDWARD LORD FRANCIS SEYMOUR

9. PATRICIA LADY FRANCIS SEYMOUR

10. WEBB EDWARD PERCY SEYMOUR

11. POPPY HERMIONE ALEXANDRA SEYMOUR

12. LEONORA HERMIONE JANE SEYMOUR

13. HERMIONE ANNE TARA SEYMOUR

14. ANNE FRANCIS MARY LADY ANNE SEYMOUR

Analysis

Shortly after he came of age, the 19th Duke of Somerset, claimant in this action, established a Settled Land Act settlement dated 30 September 1971 (the settlement). Under the terms of the settlement, the claimant was tenant for life and one of the trustees. The other trustees were independent professional trustees and were joined as first and second defendants. The rest of the defendants were all of the adult beneficiaries interested under the trusts of the settlement (all of whom supported the application), there being no existing minor beneficiaries nor any lacking capacity. The settlement provisions concerned property directly subject to the trust provisions (the trust property) and a reversionary interest (the reversionary property) under a separate settlement of which the claimant’s father was tenant for life in possession, with the claimant a tenant in tail in remainder (together ‘the two trust funds’). The settlement was expressly intended to enable a substantial part of the trust property and the reversionary property and their income to be available for the benefit of the claimant’s father’s descendants that were from time to time Dukes of Somerset or in line of succession to the Dukedom and in the order of their succession or prospective succession to it. To this end, clause 4 of the settlement directed that the two trust funds be held on a series of entailed interests, but these trusts were subject to wide overriding powers of appointment, exercisable by the tenant for life in favour of a class of beneficiaries known as ‘the discretionary beneficiaries’. The trust period was defined as the period of 80 years from 30 September 1971 and this was expressed to be the applicable perpetuity period.

Counsel details

Counsel William Massey QC (16 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4EF, tel 020 7414 8080, e-mail clerks@pumptax.com) instructed by Wilsons LLP (4 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3AA, tel 020 7998 0420, e-mail enquiries@wilsonsllp.com) for the claimant.


James Rivett (16 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4EF, tel 020 7414 8080, e-mail clerks@pumptax.com) instructed by Wilsons LLP (4 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3AA, tel 020 7998 0420, e-mail enquiries@wilsonsllp.com) for the first and second defendants.

Cases referenced

Cases in bold have further reading - click to view.

  • Bathurst v Bathurst [2017] WTLR 437, [2016] EWHC 3033 (Ch)
  • ET v JP [2018] WTLR 109, [2018] EWHC 685 (Ch)
  • In re Byng's Will Trusts [1959] 1 WLR 375
  • In re Coates' Trusts [1959] 1 WLR 375
  • In re Steed's Will Trusts [1960] Ch 407
  • Pemberton v Pemberton [2016] WTLR 1817, [2016] EWHC 2345
  • Raikes v Lygon [1988] 1 WLR 281
  • Re Ball’s Settlement Trusts [1968] 1 WLR 899
  • Re Portman Estate [2015] WTLR 871, [2015] EWHC 536
  • Roome v Edwards [1982] AC 279.
  • The Public Trustee and another v Paul Cooper and others [2001] WTLR 901
  • Wyndham v Egremont [2009] WTLR 1473, [2009] EWHC 2076 (Ch)

Legislation referenced

Legislation in bold has further reading - click to view.

  • Inheritance Tax Act 1984, Chapter III
  • Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 2009, s5, 13
  • Settled Land Act 1925, s64, 107
  • Trustee Act 1925, s57, 68
  • Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, s2(3)
  • Variation of Trusts Act 1958