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Ilott v Mitson [2015] EWCA Civ 797

Date:28 JUL 2015
Third slide
(Court of Appeal, Jackson, Black LJJ, Sir David Keene, 27 July 2015)

[The judicially approved judgment and accompanying headnote has now published in Family Law Reports [2015] 2 FLR 1409]

Inheritance – Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 – Mother left her entire estate to charities – Estranged daughter sought provision from the estate – Whether reasonable financial provision should be made – Whether £50,000 was a reasonable provision

Please see attached file below for the full judgment.

The woman's appeal from a decision in proceedings under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents Act 1975) was allowed and she was awarded £143,000 to purchase her home plus reasonable costs of the acquisition and £20,000 to provide for her income needs from her late mother's estate.

When the woman's estranged mother died she left her estate of £486,000 to The Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and she donated £5,000 to the BBC Benevolent Fund. The woman was an only child but she knew that her mother intended on leaving her nothing in her will.

The woman applied under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 claiming that the will failed to make reasonable financial provision for her. At first instance the woman's claim was allowed and she was awarded £50,000 from the estate. On appeal the judgment was set aside on the threshold point. The Court of Appeal reinstated the original judgment but remitted the question of quantification. The woman's appeal was dismissed. She now appealed to the Court of Appeal seeking a higher award.

The appeal was allowed. The judgment below was erroneous and had to be set aside. Reasonable financial provision could only be made for the woman by providing her with the sum which was required to buy her home, namely £143,000. She was awarded that sum plus reasonable costs of the acquisition. She was also awarded £20,000 to meet her income needs.

The judge had been wrong to limit the award because of the woman's lack of expectancy and her ability to live within her limited means. He had been required to calculate financial provision for the woman's maintenance but he did not know what affect the award would have on her State benefits. He made a working assumption that the effect of a large capital payment would disentitle the family to most if not all of their State benefits. Nevertheless he went on to make a large capital award but failed to verify the assumption which undermined the logic of the award.

Case No: B3/2014/2886

Neutral Citation Number: [2015] EWCA Civ 797
Mrs Justice Parker

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 27/07/2015

Before :


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Between :


- and -

1st Respondent

Michael Peter Lane
(personal representatives of Melita Jackson deceased)
2nd Respondent

The Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity
3rd Respondent

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
4th Respondent

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  
5th Respondent

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Brie Stevens-Hoare QC and John Collins (instructed by Bar Pro Bono Unit) for the Appellant
Penelope Reed QC (instructed by Wilsons Solicitors) for the Third to Fifth Respondents
The First and Second Respondents did not appear and were not represented

Hearing date: 3 July 2015

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Ilott v Mitson [2015] EWCA Civ 797 
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