Thakare & ors v Bhusate [2020] WTLR 691

WTLR Issue: Summer 2020 #179








A widow brought a claim for reasonable financial provision to be made for her from her late husband’s estate. The claim was brought 25 years and nine months after the six-month time limit mandated by s4 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

At first instance Chief Master Marsh, exercising the broad discretion afforded by s4 of the 1975 Act, gave permission for the claim to be brought, notwithstanding the extremely long time since the six-month period had expired: see Bhusate v Patel.

The facts of the present case were unusual – hence the very long extension of time. Of particular relevance were:

  1. (i) the appellants did not take any action to compel the administration of the estate;
  2. (ii) the administration of the estate was left in limbo for very many years; and
  3. (iii) when the respondent took action to enforce her rights on the intestacy, she was met with a successful defence of limitation, effectively leaving her disinherited.

The appellants appealed against this decision for a profuse number of reasons. In essence, these were that the Chief Master had improperly exercised his discretion when granting permission to extend time under s4 of the 1975 Act.


  1. (1) The appeal was dismissed. The Chief Master had not erred in the exercise of his discretion.
  2. (2) The time limit imposed by s4 of the 1975 Act is not analogous to time limits under the Civil Procedure Rules, so neither the overriding objective nor the Denton jurisprudence are relevant to applications under s4.
  3. (3) The court must determine applications under the 1975 Act based on the facts as they are at the date of the hearing. As a result, a change of circumstances can permit a claim to be made out of time, even if there could have been no claim if the claim had been made within time.
  4. (4) The court’s discretion to extend time was unfettered. It could extend time even if there is no good reason for the relevant delay, though where the delay is a lengthy one, the court is bound to search for an explanation for the delay, and to consider that as part of the circumstances of the case.
  5. (5) The existence of a trigger event is not a precondition to the grant of permission in a case involving a long delay. Rather, the presence of a trigger event is one relevant consideration in a case where, following a period of delay, the applicant has changed his or her mind and decided to make a claim, following a previous decision not to litigate.
  6. (6) The failure to administer the estate was an important consideration that weighted in the claimant’s favour.
  7. (7) It was wrong to say that the claimant should be barred from bringing her claim as she was to blame for failing to administer the estate. Even if true, this was at most a matter of conduct which the court should take into account in its consideration of the substantive claim.
  8. 8) In determining whether or not the claim is arguable, the test to be applied is the same as is applied on an application for summary judgment. However, the court is entitled to go beyond this and find that the claim is a strong one.
JUDGMENT MR EDWIN JOHNSON QC: Introduction [1] This is an appeal against a decision of Chief Master Marsh to grant permission for the making of a claim, out of time, pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (‘the 1975 Act’). [2] The claim concerns the estate of Mr. Kashinath Vithoba Bhusate …
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Counsel Details

Richard Wilson QC (Serle Court Chambers, 6 New Square Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3QS, tel 020 7242 6105, e-mail and Toby Bishop (5 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3XT, tel 020 7242 6201, e-mail, instructed by Anthony Gold Solicitors (The Counting House, 53 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QN, tel 020 7940 4060, e-mail for the appellants.

Penelope Reed QC (5 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3XT, tel 020 7242 6201, e-mail and Mark Dubbery (3 Pump Court, Temple, London EC4Y 7AJ, tel 020 7353 0711, e-mail, instructed by Withers LLP (20 Old Bailey, London EC4M 7AN, tel +852 3711 1600, e-mail for the respondent.

Legislation Referenced

  • Civil Procedure Rules 1998, rr1.1(2), 3.9(1)
  • Family Provision Act 1966
  • Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1938
  • Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 ss1, 3, 4, 20
  • Intestates’ Estates Act 1952, Sch 3
  • Limitation Act 1980