Davies v Davies [2014] EWCA Civ 568 and [2016] EWCA Civ. 463

Leslie Blohm QC

9 May 2014

Leslie was instructed by Wiljo Salen of Hugh James, Cardiff to represent Eirian Davies both at trial and on appeal, in her £7 million farm battle. The Court of Appeal has upheld the claim of Carmarthenshire farmers’ daughter, Eirian Davies, to an interest in her parents’ £7 million farm and pedigree Holstein/Friesian milking herd.

The claim is the latest in a line of actions brought by relatives who have worked on farms, often for many years, for long hours and at low or no pay, on the basis that they would succeed to the farm in due course. Eirian Davies’ parents who have owned and run the farm since 1961 disputed all of her daughter’s allegations that promises had been made to her, and that she had relied on those promises to her detriment – all matters that had to be proved for her to succeed. The Court of Appeal approved the judgment of HHJ Milwyn Jarman QC who heard evidence over three days in Cardiff last June, in favour of Ms Davies. The case illustrates the complex factual findings that a Court must make in respect of matters that often arose informally, in private and many years ago. After a further three-day hearing before HHJ Jarman QC it was determined that Miss Davies should properly receive £1.3 million and a charge over the farm to secure payment, together with her costs. Miss Davies had sought the transfer of all or a substantial part of the farm worth in the region on £4 million. Her parents argued that she should receive £350,00, being a generous assessment of the detriment that she had suffered whilst relying on her parents’ promises. It was the Judge’s view that £1.3 was a proportionate award in all of the circumstances. Mr & Mrs Davies have obtained permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal from the Court of Appeal, and unless it settles beforehand the appeal is due to be heard in April 2016.