Cases by Area of Law

Miller v Miller

[2018] EWHC 1926 (Ch)

Barrister: Christopher Jones
Area of Law: Wills, Trusts and Probate
Summary: Christopher advised and represented the successful Claimants in their application for orders in the construction and rectification of a lifetime settlement.  Conflicting provisions within the trust instrument provided that where a gift of the fund failed it should revert to the settlors, but another provision excluded the settlors from benefitting under the settlement.  The Court adopted the test in Marley v Rawlings 2014 UKSC 2, and confirmed that the test for the proper construction of trusts is the same test as is applied to wills.


G v Z (2018)

Barrister: Robert Mills
Date: 11th June 2018
Area of Law: Clinical negligence
Summary: Robert represented the Claimant at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The Claimant was awarded the highest general damages award ever reported in a dental negligence case in the sum of £65,000.00. The total damages award was in excess of £160,000.00 which was also the highest ever reported in a dental claim. This was a claim for extensive restorative treatment arising out of a wide range of negligently performed dental treatment.

There were four elements to general damages:

  1. The loss of nine otherwise healthy teeth.
  2. 37 unnecessary items of dental treatment including crowns and root canal fillings.
  3. Occlusal problems such that the Claimant had only three contact points in her mouth and was unable to eat hard foods.
  4. Psychological injury in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder and specific phobia anxiety relating to dental treatment.

Gee v Gee [2018] EWHC 1393 Ch

Barrister: Leslie Blohm QC
Area of Law: Wills, Trusts & Tax 
Summary: Leslie has recently been instructed in the latest farming case to consider a claim by a farmer’s child to the family farm. The Claimant, now sixty years old, sought to succeed to the farm he was promised over decades. His father had recently given his interest in the family farm and the family farming company to his other son, a property developer. The case was complicated by the total denial by both father and other son of any promises being made to the Claimant; the nature of the promises that were claimed (relating to the ‘lion’s share’ of the farm), and the fact that the mother had already given her share of the farm and company to the Claimant son to try to remedy what she saw as unjust behaviour. Mr Justice Birss heard evidence over five days and awarded the Claimant son his expectation interest, but with the detailed order to await a subsequent hearing.

Download judgment: Gee v Gee [2018] EWHC 1393 Ch

Churston Golf Club v Haddock [2018] EWHC 347

Barrister: John Sharples
Area of Law: Property and Real Estate
Summary: John acted for the successful respondent in an appeal which established, for the first time, that it was legally possible to create a fencing easement by express grant. The court also held that the obligation in issue, although framed as a covenant, took effect as a grant.

View bailii link: Churston Golf Club v Haddock [2018] EWHC 347

Food Convertors & Rothschild v Newell [2018] EWHC 926 (Ch)

Barrister: John Sharples
Area of Law: Property and Real Estate
Summary: John acted for the successful respondent in an appeal which determined whether adverse possession of land was established by enclosure and whether a squatter who obtained possession could lose it by reasons other than dispossession by the true owner.

View bailii link: Food Convertors & Rothschild v Newell [2018] EWHC 926 (Ch)

Sinel v Hennessy [2018] JCA 095, Jersey Court of Appeal

Barrister: Nicholas Pointon
Area of Law: Wills & Trusts
Summary: Nick Pointon, together with Advocate James Dickinson of Dickinson Gleeson, acted for the successful party, Advocate Philip Sinel, in landmark proceedings before the Jersey Court of Appeal (Bompas JA, McNeill JA and Wynn-Williams JA). The proceedings concern the standing of lawyers to sue for breach of confidence relating to documents and information generated in the privileged context of a lawyer / client relationship.

View the judgmentSinel v Hennessy [2018]

Mark Kentish

Barrister: Emma Zeb
Area of Law: inquests
Summary: Emma was instructed by Robert Hams, Partner at Wansbroughs to represent Gloucester Constabulary in an 8-day Article 2 inquest into the death of Mark Kentish. A “failure of care” led to the death of Mark Kentish when he was tackled and restrained by a security guard and caretaker at Stowfield business park in Lydbrook two years ago, an inquest jury concluded. Emma’s role in this inquest is another example of her being instructed in a high profile inquest involving the examination of the duties, actions and management of agencies in the care of an individual. After receiving the jury’s conclusion, the assistant Gloucestershire Coroner Caroline Saunders made recommendations under Section 28 of the Coroners Regulations in a bid to prevent a similar tragedy happening in future.

View press: 

Nicola Ward v Ministry of Defence

Barrister: Andrew McLaughlin
Date: 23rd May 2018
Area of Law: Personal Injury
Summary: Andrew McLaughlin, who has been reappointed by the Attorney General to the Government A Panel of Counsel, has successfully defended a claim for £1.4m brought by Nicola Ward, a former Sergeant and nurse in the RAF, against the Ministry of Defence for devastating psychiatric injury allegedly caused by bullying and harassment at work between 2013 and 2015. The Claimant was represented at trial by Mark Evans QC (Clerksroom) and Alex Fletcher (218 Strand) and for the previous three years by Jonathan Dingle (218 Strand). The case was listed for nine days at Oxford Combined Court Centre before the Designated Civil Judge HHJ Melissa Clarke. Twelve witnesses were called by the Claimant, six by the Defendant. The Claimant alleged she had been unfairly upbraided by her senior commanding officer at the medical centre on base, was subjected by him to a campaign of discriminatory conduct, was excluded from the chain of command and the management team at the medical centre, stripped of Acting Flight Sergeant rank and the pay that came with it, humiliated in front of the nursing department, downgraded on a reference for promotion, and was then stalked after going off sick. The Claimant and her witnesses were cross-examined by Andrew over four days before the defence witnesses were called. At the end of the witnesses’ evidence on day 6 the Judge decided to rule on liability before the medical experts and employment consultants were due to be heard. HHJ Melissa Clarke rejected the entirety of the Claimant’s allegations. She found the Claimant was neither bullied nor harassed. She held that the alleged stalking did not happen. The claim was dismissed with costs. Andrew has been involved in a string of high-value stress-at-work, bullying and harassment claims which he has resisted successfully at trial, some of which are available on Lawtel.

Thompson v Raggett [2018] EWHC 688 (Ch)

[2018] EWHC 688 (Ch)

Barrister: Alex Troup
Area of Law: Wills, Trusts and Tax
Head of our Wills and Trusts team, Alex Troup, instructed by Vlad Macdonald-Munteanu of Hugh James successfully represented Mrs Thompson in the recent High Court case of Thompson v Raggett [2018] EWHC 688 (Ch).

Mrs Thompson brought a claim for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 against the estate of her late partner and cohabitee, Mr Hodge, whose will left his whole estate, valued at over £1,5 million, to his tenants. The estate mainly consisted of a caravan park and farm in West Wales.

The High Court granted Mrs Thompson an outright transfer of a cottage, valued at £225,000, which Mr Hodge had purchased specifically for him and Mrs Thompson to live in during their retirement. Mrs Thompson was also granted a lump sum of £160,000 for her future maintenance and care, plus a further £28,845 to renovate the property and facilitate her moving in.

In his letter of wishes accompanying his last will, Mr Hodge claimed that Mrs Thompson had substantial sums and finances to provide for herself, but the court accepted that Mrs Thompson was in fact financially dependent upon him. Given their 42 years of cohabitation and the unpaid work she carried out on the caravan park and farm, coupled with her financial dependency, she was awarded approximately 33% of the net estate.

The Court’s decision to grant Mrs Thompson an outright interest in the cottage is significant given that in Ilott v The Blue Cross [2017] 2 WLR 979 the Supreme Court indicated that if housing is provided by way of maintenance it is likely more often to be provided by way of life interest.

The key drivers behind the Judge’s decision to grant an absolute interest in the cottage were (a) the long period of cohabitation, (b) the cottage had been bought specifically to provide Mrs Thompson with a home, (c) the beneficiaries under the will had adopted Mr Hodge’s aversion to Mrs Thompson’s son (who would be caring for her) receiving anything, and (d) an outright interest would allow Mrs Thompson to make the necessary alterations to the cottage without having to seek permission.

Cooksley v Cole

Barrister: John Dickinson
Area of Law: Wills, Trusts and Tax
Summary: 8 November 2002 Neuberger J. A High Court decision of Neuberger J on the principles applicable to the construction of a Will. This case was cited with approval by the Court of in the case of Thomas v Kent [2006] EWCA Civ 1485.