Howard v Howard-Lawson

Trust and trustee Will. The claimant brought proceedings against his father alleging, among other things, undue influence and fraud and that he had been singled out of his inheritance. The Chancery Division held, in dismissing that claim, that there had been no evidence of undue influence or fraud. However, the father was ordered to convey, to the claimant, ground rents which he had been entitled to under a trust.

*Smith v Trafford Housing Trust

Employment Employment contract. The claimant was demoted from his managerial post with the defendant housing trust after he had made comments on his Facebook page criticising gay marriage in church. The claimant brought proceedings against the Trust for breach of contract. The Chancery Division, in allowing the claim, held that a reasonable reader of the claimant's Facebook wall page could not rationally conclude that the comments had been made in any relevant sense on the Trust's behalf. The claimant's purported demotion was in breach of his contract of employment and amounted to a wrongful dismissal. accordingly, the Trust was liable in damages.

*Kell v Jones and others

Will Rectification. The Chancery Division dismissed the claim for rectification of a will as, although the will as drafted did not correctly reflect the testator's intentions, the error could not have been said to be a clerical error or a failure to understand the testator's instructions.

*Bieber and others v Teathers Ltd (in liquidation)

Trust and trustee Breach of trust. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, in dismissing the claimants' appeal, upheld a finding that money paid to the defendant under an investment scheme, by which money was to be used to invest in TV productions, had not been held by the defendant under a Quistclose trust, since the contractual arrangements under which the claimants and defendant formed a partnership had been consistent with the money forming partnership assets.

Pankhania v Chandegra (by her litigation friend, Ronald Andrew Eagle)

Tenants in common Real property. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, in allowing the claimant's appeal, held that the parties had been bound by a declaration of trust which had made the claimant an equitable tenant in common in a property.

Popley and others v Mosley and others

Trust and trustee Breach of trust. The Chancery Division held that the claimants had no cause of action seeking the return of property transferred to the first defendant by a company owned by a trust to which the claimants were beneficiaries, because the claimants had never owned the property and accordingly had no entitlement to it.

R v JOC

Criminal Law Trial. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, in allowing in part the defendant's appeal against conviction for rape, held that the conviction was unlawful as, at the time of the offence, the defendant had had an absolute defence as a result of the irrebuttable common law presumption that children under the age of 14 were incapable of committing the offence of rape. However, a conviction for indecent assault would be substituted.

Lawie v Lawie and others

Deed Trust deed. The Chancery Division granted a surviving settlor's application to rectify a deed to include the settlors' children as beneficiaries under a trust where the exercise of the court's discretion to order rectification was justified on the facts of the case.

Re Clarke

Court of protection Practice. The Court of Protection considered the issue of costs in proceedings in respect of, inter alia, the proposed sale of the patient's home. The court held that there was no basis for the departure from the 'general rule' as contained in R 156 of the Court of Protection Rules and the costs of family members and the deputy would be charged to the patient's estate and become payable on her death.

Spurling and another v Broadhurst and others

Will Construction. The Chancery Division considered the interpretation of a gift made in the testator's will. The issue arose as to the manner in which the gift was to be divided between some or all of the 13 defendants, who were either friends of the testator or relatives of those friends. The Court held that, given the evidence about the testator's affection for the defendants and the way in which he had written the will, it was appropriate to divide the gift into 13 equal shares, with each defendant taking one share.