Just Deserts? Unjust Enrichment in the Family Context

 In the aftermath of many family relationship breakdowns, second only to complaints about bad behaviour, a pervasive sentiment arises: one party believes they have invested or contributed disproportionately to the family economy, family assets or businesses, leading to perceived unfairness. Whilst statute provides a framework within which such considerations can be evaluated and reflected in […]

Sun sets on remote witnessing of wills

  At the height of the pandemic, one of the issues that much preoccupied private client practitioners was the difficulty of witnessing wills whilst observing social distancing rules – particularly for testators who were shielding or self-isolating. This lead to a variety of inventive witnessing arrangements, such as that described by HHJ Tindal in Baker […]

An Unwelcome Guest and a ‘lively controversy’ – Guest v Guest on the Essential Aim of Proprietary Estoppel

‘1. “One day my son, all this will be yours”. Spoken by a farmer to his son when in his teens, and repeated for many years thereafter. Relying on that promise of inheritance from his father, the son spends the best part of his working life on the farm, working at very low wages, accommodated […]

Detrimental reliance and the dangers of emails: Hudson v Hathway [2022] EWCA Civ 1648

  The Court of Appeal’s decision in Hudson v Hathway [2022] EWCA Civ 1648  is arguably the most important decision on the subject of constructive trusts of the family home since the House of Lords decided Stack v Dowden [2007] UKHL 17. The decision brings clarity to an area of law that is notoriously nebulous. As […]

When undue influence and mutual wills collide: Naidoo v Barton [2023] EWHC 500 (Ch)

Naidoo v Barton [2023] EWHC 500 (Ch) clarifies an important, and hitherto unresolved, issue concerning the doctrine of mutual wills. The court determined that it is the Etridge test for undue influence, applicable to challenging life time transactions, that applies when considering whether or not a mutual wills agreement should be set aside and not the […]

Predatory Marriage – The Great Inheritance Scam?

  The term ‘predatory marriage’ is not a legal concept, but rather a convenient descriptor for a marriage entered into in circumstances where one party to the marriage is vulnerable and has been induced to enter into the marriage by the other party who is acting solely for financial gain. The effects of a later […]

The judge as deal-broker – Should you try a Chancery FDR?

Court based ADR hearings, where a judge attempts to assist parties to reach terms of settlement, are on the rise. This is a concept that has been around for some time but which appears to have been embraced with greater enthusiasm since the pandemic as a solution to the backlog many courts are struggling with […]

Letting the cat out of the bag? What are the implications of Haley v Haley for the arbitration of TOLATA disputes, 1975 Act claims and Schedule 1 matters?

The decision of the Court of Appeal last week in Haley v Haley [2020] EWCA Civ 1369 represents a fundamental shift in the approach to be taken to challenges to financial remedy arbitration awards, made upon divorce or dissolution of civil partnerships pursuant to the provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (“MCA 1973”) (or […]

Money jar

Revisiting interim payments in IPFDA 1975 claims: Weisz v Weisz [2019] EWHC 3101 (Fam)

We now have two recent decisions on the subject of interim payments under s. 5 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975: the decision of Mrs Justice Lieven in T v V, which I have covered in a recent post here, and now the decision of Mr Justice Francis in Weisz v […]

Court of Protection sign

Litigating on behalf of P: Guidance for Deputies on seeking permission and managing conflicts

Her Honour Judge Hilder has given judgment in ACC & Others [2020] EWCOP 9, a test case which concerns the circumstances in which deputies must seek authority to litigate on behalf of P and other considerations such as managing conflicts where a professional deputy proposes to instruct its own firm in the litigation. The specific […]