Marley v Rawlings & anr [2014] UKSC 51

WTLR Issue: November 2014 #144





Mr Rawlings (the deceased) and his wife Mrs Rawlings made mirror wills in 1999. Mrs Rawlings died in 2003 and her estate passed to her husband. However, upon the death of Mr Rawlings in 2006, it became apparent that the solicitor involved in the preparation of the wills had accidentally presented Mr and Mrs Rawlings with, and each had signed, the will intended for the other. The validity of the will was subsequently challenged by the deceased’s two sons, who were not entitled under the will but stood to inherit his £70,000 estate under the rules of intestacy. The Supreme Court held that the will could be properly rectified under s20 Administration of Justice Act 1982 and was therefore valid and effective. This decision concerned the allocation of the costs of proceedings. Mr Marley contended that the respondents should pay his costs in accordance with the general rule. The respondents contended that Mr Marley’s costs should be paid out of the estate, or in the alternative, by the solicitor, who was responsible for the error. The insurers, who made submissions on costs, contended that the respondents should pay Mr Marley’s costs.

Counsel details

Robert Ham QC (Wilberforce Chambers, 8 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3QP, tel 020 7306 0102, e-mail and Teresa Rosen Peacocke (3 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3XL, tel 020 7242 4937, e-mail, instructed by Hugh Cartwright & Amin (12 John Street, London WC1N 2EB, tel 020 7632 4200, e-mail for the appellant.

Nicholas Le Poidevin QC and Alexander Learmonth (New Square Chambers, 12 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3SW, tel 020 7419 8000, e-mail, instructed by Gillan & Co (3 Old Kenlis Street, Banbridge, County Down BT32 3BD, tel 028406 26639, e-mail for the respondents.

Legislation referenced

Legislation in bold has further reading - click to view.

  • Access to Justice Act 1999
  • Supreme Court Rules 2009, r46(1)