Ubbi v Ubbi
 [2018] EWHC 1396 (Ch)

WTLR Issue: Autumn 2018 #173

1. MATTIA CORRADO UBBI

2. GABRIELE CORRADO UBBI (minors represented by their litigation friend and mother BIANCA MARIA CORRADO)

V

SUSAN ELIZABETH UBBI (as personal representative and beneficiary of the estate of Malkiat Singh Ubbi deceased)

Analysis

M and S married in September 2000. They had met in 1987, purchased their first home together in 1988 and developed a business (WP Ltd) together. S had a child from a previous relationship, whom M had treated as his own daughter. M and S had a child (J) together in 1994; J suffered from hemiplegia, paralysis to one side of the body, and learning difficulties. In 2007, B started working with M and they started an affair. In 2010 M made his will, appointing S to be his executor and leaving his estate to her. At about the same time M and S bought another property, Poplar Court. In 2012 M and B had a child, C1. In 2013 M moved into Poplar Court with B, enjoying a high standard of living, and in 2014 M and B had another child, C2. After that S petitioned for divorce. A decree nisi was pronounced in 2015, soon after which M died unexpectedly, before a final decree.

As C1 and C2 did not benefit under M’s will, they brought an application under s2 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the Act) for reasonable financial provision out of M’s estate, as children of the deceased, under s1(1)(c) of the Act. M’s estate had a value of around £3.5m and comprised a share of the matrimonial home and of WP Ltd (Poplar Court accrued to S by survivorship). B had an estate of over £1m and offered a concession to contribute 65% of her income towards the maintenance of C1 and C2. S’s finances were not disclosed.

Held:

The Act did not provide for the financial needs of an applicant infant child to be elevated to a first or paramount consideration. The bare fact that a child was born within or outside of a marriage was irrelevant. What may have been relevant was how he or she was treated by the deceased. The purpose of the 1975 Act in cases not involving spouses or civil partners is to provide maintenance, which may be capitalised and paid as a lump sum. The level at which maintenance may be provided is flexible and falls to be assessed on the facts of each case. It is not limited to subsistence level.

The court took account of the varying accommodation needs of the claimants over time. The claimants were reliant on B and would continue to be for more than 12 years. J was reliant on S. M had had obligations and responsibilities to the claimants and to J. There was no expectation during M’s lifetime that the claimants would be educated privately and no allowance was given for that. The parties agreed on the methodology of quantifying the claim by adopting a multiplier multiplicand methodology using Ogden table 28 for each of the on-going costs to be incurred in raising the claimants. Applying that methodology and taking into account the contribution offered by B, the amount ordered to be paid by M’s estate for the reasonable financial provision of the claimants was £386,290.60.

After the judgment was sent to the parties for editorial comment, the claimants sought to withdraw the concession made by B to contribute 65% of her income but this was rejected as being an attempt to re-open and reargue the case. The purpose of disclosure of the draft judgment was to obtain the help of counsel in correcting misprints, inadvertent errors of fact or ambiguities of expression.

JUDGMENT MASTER SHUMAN: [1] This is a claim by Mattia Corrado Ubbi and Gabriele Corrado Ubbi, brought by their litigation friend and mother, Bianca Maria Corrado, for an order under s2 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the Act) for reasonable financial provision out of the estate of their late father, …
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Counsel Details

Guy Holland (The 36 Group, 36 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4JH, email gholland@36group.co.uk, tel 020 7421 8019) instructed by Monro Wright & Wasbrough (7-8 Great James Street, London WC1N 3DF, email contact@mww-llp.com, tel 020 7404 7001) for the claimants.

James Weale (Serle Court, 6 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3QS, email jweale@serlecourt.co.uk, tel 020 7242 6105) instructed by Russell-Cooke LLP (8 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4BX, tel 020 7405 6566) for the defendant.

Cases Referenced

Legislation Referenced

  • Children Act 1989
  • Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, s1, s2, s3
  • Matrimonial Causes Act 1973