Private Wealth Bulletin: March 2014

Welcome to the first edition of the Private Wealth Bulletin by XXIV Old Buildings.  Three times a year, practising barristers at one of London’s leading Chambers specialising in trusts, succession and private wealth litigation will publish summaries of a selection of recent interesting and important decisions in these areas, with full references and commentary.  If you would like to discuss any of the cases or issues raised in the Bulletin, please do not hesitate to contact us.  Please feel free to forward this email on to anyone who you think might be interested.  If you would like to opt out of receiving the Bulletin, please email us on gabriela.pieterse@xxiv.co.uk.

In this edition, we include a number of cases raising novel issues in probate and succession disputes.  They include a decision on donatio mortis causa in which costs were awarded against professional “heir hunters” (Vallee v Birchwood), a Court of Appeal decision refusing permission to bring an Inheritance Act claim more than 6 six years after the expiry of time limit for such claims (Berger v Berger), and the Supreme Court decision on the ambit of the Court’s statutory power to rectify wills and the principles governing the interpretation of wills (Marley v Rawlins).

In a White v Jones-type case, the High Court has discussed whether the question of what the testator would have done had the defendant solicitor not been negligent was to be assessed on a balance of probabilities or a loss of chance (Feltham v Bouskell).  In a succession dispute over the estate of an English peer who lived in Italy for the last 30 years of his life, the High Court recently considered a jurisdiction challenge involving issues of forum non conveniens and renvoi (Lambton v Lambton).

We have also included a case in which a challenge to trustees’ fees in the context of a retirement benefit scheme was dismissed by the High Court (Oakhurst Property Developments v Blackstar).  A successful claim to equitable compensation was made by an investor in a golf course development project in circumstances where the investment was held on a Quistclose trust (Wise v Jimenez).

The Family Division considered whether to grant disclosure to a divorcing spouse of confidential documents relating to a Jersey trust in circumstances where the Jersey Royal Court had expressed concerns about such disclosure (Tchenguiz-Imerman v Imerman).

Finally, two cases from the Channel Islands are also included in this Bulletin.  The Jersey Royal Court recently had to consider whether bribes received by a fiduciary were held on constructive trust (Lloyds Trust Company (Channel Islands) Ltd v Fragoso).  The Guernsey Royal Court considered whether the trustees of a Jersey-law governed trust could limit their contractual and restitutionary liabilities (which were governed by Guernsey or English law) by reference to statutory provision of Jersey trusts law (Investec Trust (Guernsey) Ltd v Glenalla).