Family proceedings Orders in family proceedings. The appellant 15 year old boy had wanted to give evidence at care proceedings which were being conducted with respect to him. He expressed his desire to return to his mother in his written application to give evidence. The judge held that any benefit she would obtain from his evidence would be outweighed by the detriment to him of giving evidence. A care order was made. The boy appealed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, in dismissing his appeal, held that a child did have the right to be heard in proceedings conducted in England but did not have the right to give evidence. Further, there was no rebuttable presumption that the mature child's wishes should prevail in considering an application for a care order.
Power of attorney Enduring power of attorney. The claimant in both appeals, AD, was the carer for MA, a famous composer, for 22 years. Following MA's death, disputes arose regarding cash gifts made to AD and the ownership of MA's manuscripts of his compositions. The Chancery Division held, inter alia, that there had been no impropriety surrounding the cash gifts, that a number of manuscripts had not been given to MA's children, but that all of MA's manuscripts had been given to AD during MA's lifetime. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the children's appeal in respect of the gift of some manuscripts, but dismissed the appeals in respect of the cash gifts and the gift of manuscripts to AD. The Court also allowed AD's cross-appeal in respect of the effect of cl6 of MA's will, holding that it would have been effective to give MA's manuscripts to AD.
Will Validity. The claimant, who was the deceased's niece, brought proceedings to challenge the validity of a will leaving the deceased's estate to the defendants who had cared for her at the latter stage of her life. The Chancery Division held that the will was invalid in that the deceased had not had mental capacity to make the will and she had not known or approved the contents of the will.
Negligence Duty to take care. The claimant executrixes of the estate of a man who died of malignant mesothelioma issued proceedings against his employer in the 1960s and 1970s. They alleged negligence in respect of exposure to asbestos in course of deceased's employment. The Queen's Bench Division held that, even by the standards of the times, the employer had negligently failed to comply with its duty of care.
Probate Undue influence. The claimant brought a probate action contesting the latter of two wills (the 2006 will) made by his mother (the deceased) on the basis of: (i) want of capacity and (ii) undue influence. The Chancery Division held that, on the facts, the deceased had testamentary capacity but that the 2006 will had resulted from undue influence. Accordingly, the previous will stood.
Will Gift. The Chancery Division considered a claim relating to the giving of gifts by the testator, F, to his daughters shortly after making a will. The court held that, on the evidence, the gifts had not been intended as portions to the daughters or as an anticipation of their share of F's estate, and that the estate would be distributed by dividing the residue without taking into account the gifts given to the daughters.
Coroner Inquest. The Administrative Court held that an inquest, challenged by the claimant on the grounds that there had been delay in the conduct of the inquest and bias on the part of the assistant deputy coroner, had been lawful.
Trust and Trustee Resulting trust. The claimants invested in an investment opportunity advertised to them by the second defendant. They paid their investment monies into the client account of the first defendant firm of solicitors. The first defendant then released the monied to repay a loan which had been used as part of the investment scheme. The claimants commenced proceedings claiming, inter alia, that the monies paid into the client account were at all material times held subject to escrow conditions, and further or alternatively, on a form of Quistclose or resulting trust for them or otherwise to their order and that the payment of those monies out of the client account was a breach of contract and-or trust for which first defendant was liable. The Chancery Division held that the monies had been subject to a form of resulting trust of which the first defendant had been in breach in releasing the monies to pay off the loan.
Redundancy Employees working at residential home for persons with mental disabilities. The employees worked at a residential home for persons with mental disabilities. After they were made redundant, they brought a claim for unfair dismissal. The employment tribunal held that the employees had been unfairly dismissed because they had been assessed on criteria designed for use in a recruitment context and no account had been taken of their past performance. The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the employer's appeal, having found that although some of the tribunal's reasons had been flawed, its primary reason had been one that had been open to it.
Family proceedings Orders in family proceedings. The Family Division allowed a mother's application to relocate her children to Australia, in circumstances where the court held that the impact of refusing the application, if favourable to the father, would bear far more heavily on the mother than the other way round.