Cayman courts emphasise the importance of Beddoe relief and its availability in situations where a third party claim is for an amount greater than the Trust assets.

In the case of X (as Trustee of the A Trust) v Y (beneficiary of the A Trust)[1], the court reiterated the importance for Trustees of seeking Beddoe relief before commencing or defending an action. Obtaining Beddoe relief ensures that Trustees are more likely to be indemnified against any adverse costs consequences than without such relief. The court also found that interested non-beneficiary third parties should be provided with informal notice of a Beddoe application but that the interests of the beneficiaries of a Trust outweigh the interest (actual or potential) of any third party in the trust assets in assessing the Trustees’ application.

Background Facts

The Claimant in these proceedings was the Trustee of the A Trust. The Trustee was involved in English proceedings in respect of a Sale and Purchase Agreement (“SPA“) which involved a claim against a consortium of sellers (including the Trustee) in relation to (a) breach of warranty, and (b) the tort of deceit.

The breach of warranty claim related to, amongst others, failure to disclose a dispute between the Trustee and another defendant (in the English proceedings) which was ongoing at the time of the execution of the SPA. The claim for deceit arose on the basis that the defendants (in the English proceedings) allegedly made material misrepresentations to the claimant (in the English proceedings) (“Z“) that no funds had been invested in the ill-fated Madoff Funds. Z avers that such investments were made before the SPA was signed and came to its attention after the SPA was executed.

The Trustee had sought directions from the Court to defend the English proceedings.  It also sought orders permitting it to borrow funds from the C Trust (i.e. another Trust), to discharge the costs of defending the English proceedings and, pre-emptively, for an indemnity for any costs and expenses properly incurred for those purposes, which would have been ultimately reimbursed from the A Trust assets.

Beddoe Relief

The case of Re Beddoe[2] established the principle that Trustees are able to apply to the court to seek permission to commence or defend proceedings using the trust assets while also obtaining an indemnity from the Trust for any adverse cost consequences. (That indemnity can be lost if the Trustees have failed to make full disclosure of all material facts when making the application for relief.)

It is important to note Trustees who do not seek Beddoe relief are not automatically barred from recovering the costs of litigation from the Trust funds.  However, such Trustees do not have the same certainty of protection as they would if they had obtained Beddoe relief.

The importance of seeking Beddoe relief

The Cayman courts have general jurisdiction to provide relief to a trustee in relation to the management or administration of trust money under section 48 of the Trusts Law (2011 revision). The case of Re Beddoe allows for the applicability of such directions specifically on the question of engagement in litigation.

Smellie CJ re-iterated Lindley LJ’s position in Re Beddoe where he stated that “…a trustee who, without the sanction of the Court, commences an action or defends an action, unsuccessfully, does so at his own risk as regards the costs, even if he acts on counsel’s opinion” especially given the “ease and comparatively small expense with which trustees can obtain the opinion of the Chancery Division on the question whether an action should be brought or defended at the expense of the trust estate“.

Therefore, the Court found the Trustee had adopted the correct approach in this case by seeking Beddoe relief from the court before proceeding with the litigation.

Rights of non-beneficiary third parties in a Beddoe application

The Trustee had provided Z with informal notice of the Beddoe application. However, Z contested that it should have been provided with formal notice so that it could have made appropriate formal representations to the court.

Smellie CJ found that in circumstances where Z is not a beneficiary in the A Trust, it is merely a third party asserting a disputed personal claim in contract or tort against the Trustee. Therefore, Z’s claim is one which is a dispute between a third party and a Trustee in relation to liabilities assumed by the Trustee in administration of the Trust. In such circumstances there is no need for Z to be provided with formal notice of the Beddoe application. However, Smellie CJ also found that Z would be adversely affected if its claim was successful and the Trustee had defended the claim at the expense of the Trust because the costs of the defence would reduce the value of the assets against which Z would have been able to enforce its judgment. The Trustee had therefore been correct to provide Z with informal notice of the Beddoe application. The court also took into account the representations made by Z in its response letter.

Decision

Given that Z’s claim exceeded the value of A Trust, if that claim were to be undefended the A Trust would certainly be exhausted to the detriment of the beneficiaries. However, in deciding how much weight should be given to Z’s interests, Smellie CJ decided that a contingent or putative creditor in Z’s position is not capable of asserting a proprietary claim to the Trust assets, and takes the Trust Assets as it finds them at the time of the judgement. The Trustee obtained Beddoe relief in these proceedings and was allowed to defend the English proceedings and would have had an indemnity from the Trust assets for the costs reasonably incurred in defending the claim.

Conclusion

As this case illustrates, it is important for trustees to ensure that:

  1. they seek the court’s permission before bringing or defending claims in relation to the trust assets (i.e. seek Beddoe relief); and
  2. to the extent that there are third parties interested in the trust assets who would be adversely affected by the outcome of any litigation, they should be provided with informal notice of any application for Beddoe relief.

 

[1] in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, Financial Services Division (unreported) 15 March 2017, Smellie CJ

[2] [1893] 1 CH 547

HKMA and PWMA in Hong Kong collaborate to develop a Treat Customers Fairly Charter for the PWM industry

On 8 June 2017, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced that it has been working together with the Private Wealth Management Association to develop a Treat Customers Fairly Charter (the Charter) to further promote a customer-centric culture in the private wealth management (PWM) industry.  The Charter is designed to complement, not change, current laws and regulations and the existing terms and conditions between banks and their customers.  It is stated to be a commitment by PWM institutions in Hong Kong to support and implement the principle of treating customers fairly.

The Charter draws reference from good practices locally and overseas and from the G20 High-Level Principles on Financial Consumer Protection.  For example, it bears resemblance to the UK FCA’s consumer outcomes, in particular principle 6 which requires a firm to pay “due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly”.  It comprises five high-level principles (the TCF principles) which are supplemented by examples to illustrate how such principles may be implemented by PWM institutions. However, these examples are not comprehensive, but are stated to be illustrations to enhance understanding of the “spirit” of the TCF principles.

The HKMA expects all Authorised Institutions which operate as private banks, or which have dedicated private banking units, to follow the TCF principles.  It has stated that it expects senior management and boards of directors to ensure that their institutions and relevant staff abide by the TCF principles.  Our recent bulletin outlines further details on each principle.

If you would like to discuss the above further, please do not hesitate to contact Will Hallatt, Richard Norridge, Hannah Cassidy, Joanna Caen, or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

William Hallatt
William Hallatt
Partner, Financial services regulatory Hong Kong
+852 2101 4036
Richard Norridge
Richard Norridge
Partner, Head of private wealth - Asia
+44 (0)20 7466 2686
Hannah Cassidy
Hannah Cassidy
Partner, Financial services regulatory Hong Kong
+852 2101 4133
Joanna Caen
Joanna Caen
Senior consultant, Private wealth Hong Kong
+852 2101 4167

OPEN LETTERS REVEAL DISPUTE OVER THE ESTATE OF THE FORMER SINGAPOREAN PRIME MINISTER

On 23 March 2015, Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), the former Prime Minister of Singapore (and father of the current Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong ("LHL")) passed away, leaving behind a will. The will included a clause concerning LKY's former home (38 Oxley Road). This clause provided that LKY's daughter (LWL) was to be granted the right to remain living at 38 Oxley Road, and upon her passing or relocation, it should be demolished (the Demolition Clause). The intention behind this will, and in particular the Demolition Clause has been questioned in two public letters in social media between LKY's three children.

Further to the two public letters, additional information has been released by the Lee family to the public through various social media postings, including questions relating to the validity of a Deed of Gift of certain family items that the younger Lee siblings (LHY and LWL) purported to make, as executors of LKY's last will and representatives of his estate, to the National Heritage Board.

The above events have culminated in LHL announcing that he will deliver a Ministerial Statement when the Singapore Parliament sits on 3 July 2017, with the lifting of the People Action Party's party whip in order for Parliament to have a full public airing of the issues. This is significant because the party whip has been lifted fewer than 10 times since 1965 when Singapore became independent.

This post explores some of the interesting questions raised by this matter in relation to private wills and gifts when public interest issues are at play.

Letter by LHY and LWL regarding demolition of 38 Oxley Road

The dispute over LKY's estate was first made public upon the release of an open letter by LHY and LWL, the joint executors and trustees of LKY's estate, on 14 June 2017. Titled, "What has happened to Lee Kuan Yew's values?" (the First Letter),  the First Letter raised concerns over the fate of 38 Oxley Road, which was left to LHL in the will. In doing so, LHY and LWL asserted that "[LKY] made clear throughout the years in public and private his wish that his home at 38 Oxley Road be demolished upon his passing" and that this was "reiterated" in his final will which was executed on 17 December 2013 (the Final Will).

The First Letter also alleged that because LHL was in a position of power over a Ministerial Committee which had been set up to consider options with respect to 38 Oxley Road, he was in a position of conflict, which also contradicted his previous undertakings that he would recuse himself from all government decisions involving the property.

Letter in reply by LHL

Following the letter by his siblings, LHL issued an open letter in reply on 15 June 2017 (the Reply), which called into question the circumstances under which the Final Will was executed by LKY.

In particular, LHL alleged that the reinsertion of both the Demolition Clause and the clause to grant all children equal shares of LKY's estate from earlier wills of LKY happened under rushed circumstances under which LKY was not properly legally advised. LHL also stated that it was LHY's wife's firm who had prepared the Final Will, which presented a conflict of interest.

Therefore, LHL stated that his father may not have known that the Demolition Clause, which was omitted from LKY's prior two wills, had been reinstated in the Final Will as it was not drawn to his attention.

Deed of Gift

In subsequent posts, LHL also released information relating to a Deed of Gift that LHY and LWL had executed in 2015 in favour of the National Heritage Board for the donation and public exhibition of significant items, with a stipulation that LKY's wish for the demolition of 38 Oxley Road (as set out in various documents) be displayed prominently at the exhibition.

However, LHY alleged that LHL had acquired the Deed of Gift from the National Heritage Board in his capacity as Prime Minister, for the purpose of issuing private objections to LHY and LWL.

Ministerial Committee

Under the Preservation of Monuments Act in Singapore, the Government has the right to preserve 38 Oxley Road as a national monument. The National Heritage Board can ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth to gazette the property, if it fulfils criteria such as having historic, cultural, traditional, archaeological, architectural, artistic or symbolic significance and national importance. This can be done in spite of an individual's wishes in a will regarding a property. Current national monuments in Singapore include the former City Hall and the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

An internal Ministerial Committee has been set up to list the different options and implications for the actions to be taken with regard to the house, while paying attention to LKY's wishes. It has been suggested by the Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean that one option that is being studied is demolishing the house but keeping the basement dining room, where many important meetings took place. The Ministerial Committee will also be looking into how the Final Will was prepared and the roles of the people involved.

Conclusion

It is yet to be seen how the correspondence between LKY's children will develop and the effect it will have in respect to decisions over LKY's estate. The 38 Oxley Road family saga calls into question the extent to which public interest may override individual wishes in a will, and emphasises the importance of being aware of any possible conflicts in the process of drafting and executing a will. Given the complex legal issues and questions of governance involved, the development of this matter will likely have important implications on how property disputes involving important public figures in Singapore will be resolved going forward. 

Richard Norridge
Richard Norridge
Partner
+44 (0)20 7466 2686
Joanna Caen
Joanna Caen
Senior Consultant
+852  2101 4167

Court resolves dispute between parties as to who should hold the power to appoint trustees following settlor’s death

The English High Court has recently approved an application to change the provision of a trust deed relating to the appointment of new trustees.[1] The change was necessary because the original power was reserved exclusively for the settlor, who had died. All adult beneficiaries of the trust supported the change, as did three of the four trustees.

This case illustrates the importance of having succession plans for the power of appointment of new trustees. It also addresses disputes between parties about changes to trust terms.

Background

The case concerned an application to change the provision relating to the appointment of new trustees of a trust. The original settlement gave the power to the settlor during his life. The settlor had died. The application proposed to change the provision for appointment so that the principal beneficiary (as defined in the trust instrument) was granted the power to appoint new trustees, with the written consent of the trustees.

One trustee opposed the application. His view was that the trustees should have the power to nominate and appoint new trustees, with the principal beneficiary holding a veto power. The opposing trustee considered this a better proposal on the basis that:

  1. The collective view of existing trustees may be better informed as to the attributes needed and through their wider collective contacts they may be better able to identify suitable candidates than the principal beneficiary.

  2. Exercise of the veto power by the principal beneficiary would less likely result in any lasting discord than exercise of the veto power of the trustees.

  3. Beneficiaries can be ill fitted to make such important enduring appointments in the wider best interests of all beneficiaries. There are examples of unsuitably partisan and over compliant trustees being appointed by principal beneficiaries for their own ends.

Judgment

The Court granted the application, noting that the change would not be departing radically from the structure the settlor first created. The case was not one where the settlor had originally entrusted the appointment of new trustees to the existing trustees, but rather had reserved to power to himself.

In rejecting the opposing trustee's arguments, the Court noted:

  1. There is no reason why trustees may be better able to identify suitable candidates than the principal beneficiary, and there was no evidence put before the Court to that effect. Further, even if it were true, likely there would be prior informal discussion, so the benefit of the trustees' experience, knowledge and contacts would be available to the principal beneficiary.

  2. The possibility at someone taking offence in relation to the exercise of the veto power existed whether the trustees had the veto power or the principal beneficiary had it. The power to nominate trustees was a fiduciary power and there was no reason to suppose the principal beneficiary would not take his responsibility seriously.

  3. A senior beneficiary, knowing the situation of all the beneficiaries (being members of his extended family), and having enjoyed a long relationship with the trust assets was in a better position than most to decide what qualities were needed in a new trustee.

Comment

The case, whilst fact specific, provides an interesting insight into what a Court will consider when considering changes to the power to appoint trustees and how the Court deals with the situation where one party opposed an application. As noted above, it could have been avoided had the trust deed provided for successor appointors following the settlor's death.

 

For more information, please contact Richard Norridge, Joanna Caen or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Richard Norridge
Richard Norridge
Partner
+44 20 7466 2686
Joanna Caen
Joanna Caen
Senior Consultant
+852 2101 4167

Wills interpreted according to their ordinary and natural meaning despite this not reflecting testators’ intention

The English High Court has recently held that, in a case concerning construction of Wills, the ordinary and natural meaning of survivorship clauses should be given effect to.[1] This operated to mean that certain beneficiaries under the Wills of a husband and wife benefitted twice, which the parties agreed was not the couple's intention. The claimants were the executrices of the couple's estates (and also beneficiaries of the estates). They wished to know how to distribute the estates. The claimants wanted the Court to interpret the Wills in accordance with the couple's intention. This would have meant that they received less under the Wills than they would have done if the Wills were interpreted in their ordinary and natural terms. The defendants were the solicitor who drafted the Wills and his firm.

The case is a reminder to executors of the importance of administering estates in accordance with the terms of the Wills. The case is also a reminder to draftsmen of the importance to accurately convey a testator's intention when drafting a Will.

Background

A husband and wife were both found dead in their home leaving mirror Wills. Under the terms of their Wills, they each left their estate to the other if each survived the other by 28 days. However, in the event that that gift failed they each provided for the disposal of their personal chattels, left pecuniary legacies to the same named individuals and charities and left the residue of their estate to the claimants, also being the executrices of the Wills.

It was not possible to determine which of the couple died first. Therefore, it was not in dispute that the husband, being the younger of the pair, was deemed to have survived his wife. This was so because of the "commorientes rules" under statute. Therefore, under the husband's Will the gift of residue in favour of his wife failed because she was deemed to have pre-deceased him. The husband's Will fell to be distributed in accordance with the provisions in the remainder of his Will.

The key issue for the Court was to determine whether the survivorship clause meant that the wife's gift of residue to her husband also failed. If so, then her Will would also fall to be distributed to the same named individuals and charities as the husband's Will with the residue going to the claimants. The result of this would be that the named individuals and charities would benefit twice (once from the husband's estate and once from the wife's). This was not the couple's intention. Instead, they had intended that in such circumstances other beneficiaries would take the estate of one of them so no beneficiary would benefit twice.

The claimants brought the claim in their role as executrices in order to ascertain how to administer the estates. It was the claimants' position that the correct interpretation of the wife's Will was that the survivorship clause meant the wife's gift to her husband failed. This was so because the wife's Will required the husband to survive her by 28 days in order to inherit her estate. It was the defendants' position that the survivorship clause did not apply to the gift of residue to the husband because inter alia the overall purpose of the Will and the facts known or assumed by the parties at the time the Will was executed did not suggest it should. It was common ground between the parties that the husband and wife did not intend beneficiaries to benefit twice.

Judgment

The Court held that on true construction of the wording of the Will, the survivorship clause meant that the residue gift in favour of the husband failed. In so holding, the Court examined the principles of construction, noting that the starting point was to give the words of the Will their ordinary and natural meaning. The ordinary and natural meaning of the survivorship clause was that anyone who was named in the Will must survive the testator by 28 days in order to take under the Will. The fact that the husband died within 28 days of the wife meant that the gift to the husband failed. This failure could have easily been avoided by different drafting, for example by excluding the effect of the survivorship clause in respect of the relevant spouse and/or the primary gift.

The Court commented that the apparent mistake on the part of the draftsman in failing to give effect to his clients' apparent actual intention may have been capable of being cured through a claim for rectification. However, such a claim was not brought before the Court so the Court declined to rule on it.

Comment

The case serves as a reminder that in considering claims of Will construction, the Court will start by considering the natural and ordinary meaning of the words. If the words are clear and unambiguous then that unambiguous meaning will be given effect to as the testator's intention. This was despite in this case the unambiguous meaning being at odds with the apparent actual intention of the testator.

For draftsmen, it is important to remember to draft in a way which gives effect the client's intention. Failure to do so may give rise not only to dispute as to the meaning of the drafting, but also a potential negligence claim. For executors, it is important to remember your duties in administering the estate and the necessity to administer the estate according to the terms of the Will. This is true even if you know this to be contrary to the testator's actual intention.


[1] Jump and another v Lister and another [2016] EWHC 2160 (Ch)

 

For more information, please contact Richard Norridge, Joanna Caen or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Richard Norridge
Richard Norridge
Partner
+44 20 7466 2686
Joanna Caen
Joanna Caen
Senior Consultant
+852 2101 4167

 

 

 

 

Widow removed as administratrix after persistent breaches in administering the estate

The Hong Kong Court has recently ordered the removal of an administratrix, who was the widow of the deceased, after finding she had misappropriated and converted the estate to her own use, repeatedly breached Court orders and had failed to render a proper and accurate account.[1] This case is a reminder to all administrators to fulfil their duties or face removal.

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Akers v Samba: Trusts over foreign assets

The UK Supreme Court has held that the extinction of a company's beneficial interest under a trust on the transfer of an asset by the trustee to a bona fide purchaser without notice does not constitute a "disposition" under section 127 of the English Insolvency Act 1986 (the "Act"). Accordingly, the transfer of such assets was not void, the assets could not form part of the insolvency estate of the liquidated company, and the beneficiary's interest in the assets was extinguished: Akers v Samba Financial Group [2017] UKSC 6.

The Supreme Court also considered (albeit by way of obiter dicta) the effect of the lex situs in relation to trust assets.

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Deceased’s “husband” and daughter both unable to obtain letters of administration

The English High Court has recently refused to grant letters of administration to a deceased's daughter (the "Claimant") despite her having the highest entitlement to the deceased's estate.[1] The dispute involved a challenge by the alleged widower of the deceased (the "Defendant"), who was found not to have been validly married to the deceased. Therefore the Court declined to grant the Defendant letters of administration. Nonetheless, the Court found that the Claimant had deliberately lied to Court and thus also declined to grant her letters of administration. Instead, the Court exercised its jurisdiction to appoint "some other person" as administrator. This case is a reminder that all parties need to act lawfully and properly when presenting evidence or face the consequences.

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Hong Kong Court of Appeal affirms law on express, constructive and resulting trust

The Hong Kong Court of Appeal ("CA") in Ip Fung Kuen v Sam Kee Frozen Meat Co Ltd and others (CACV 107/2016) recently affirmed the well-established principles of express, constructive and resulting trust under Hong Kong law. As well as confirming those principles, the judgment is also noteworthy because of the CA's confirmation of the Court of First Instance ("CFI")'s finding that the plaintiff's lack of education and sophistication in comparison with the appellant (a company established and controlled by the plaintiff's eldest brother) was relevant to whether a trust was established. The CA upheld the CFI's ruling that the appellant held the disputed property in trust for the plaintiff.

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Judge sentenced to six months’ jail by Nottingham Crown Court for forgery of a will and fraud

A former solicitor and disability claims tribunal judge, and her husband, forged a will and letter to obtain two adjacent cottages in order to create one, large retirement home for themselves. On conviction, they were sentenced to six month's jail, the maximum sentence.  This case should remind readers of the serious penalties for forgery.

Background

The fraud was committed by Margaret Hampshire, and her husband, Alan Hampshire.

The will

The first cottage was owned by Martin Blanche, who died in 2007. Mrs Hampshire administered Mr Blanche's estate and claimed to have found a will while clearing out the contents of Mr Blanche's home following his death. Under the "will" Mr Blanche purportedly left the first cottage and his share in the second cottage to his cousin, Josephine Burroughs. Mrs Hampshire and Ms Burroughs were also related.

There was doubt cast at the time as to the validity of the will. It was widely believed Mr Blanche was illiterate, therefore unlikely to have written a will. Nonetheless the will was admitted to probate and both properties were transferred into Ms Burroughs' name.

The letter

The second cottage was part owned by Mr Blanche and Ms Burroughs. Mrs Hampshire had been granted power of attorney over the affairs of Ms Burroughs.

Following the transfer of both cottages into Ms Burroughs' name, Mrs Hampshire produced a letter, purportedly typed by Ms Burroughs, to the effect of "I have thought about Martin and the cottages at Rolleston and as we discussed I definitely do not want anything to do with it…I think it's fair for you to have it, and I am happy for Sarah [the Hampshires’ daughter], to have them if that is what you want." The letter was dated 24 February 2007 and apparently signed by Ms Burroughs. Mrs Hampshire later admitted that she had written it in 2009 and that Ms Burroughs' signature had been forged.

Abuse of power of attorney

Mrs Hampshire subsequently used her power of attorney over Ms Burroughs' affairs to transfer ownership of both cottages to her daughter, Sarah Hampshire, to avoid inheritance tax.

In 2012 Mr Hampshire stole £23,176 from Ms Burroughs' bank account to fund the conversion of the two cottages into one, large cottage.

Ms Burroughs died in January 2014, prior to the discovery of the forgery and fraud.

In 2016 the Hampshires sold their home and moved into the renovated cottage, following which their offences were discovered due to a dispute with a neighbour.

The trial

Although Mr and Mrs Hampshire initially denied the claims, they eventually pleaded guilty at trial in November 2016. Mrs Hampshire pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery and one count of fraud. Mr Hampshire admitted forgery and two counts of theft.

Timothy Greene QC, for Mrs Hampshire, argued that there had been no intention to cause financial harm and that Ms Burroughs had been telling third parties that she wanted to leave the property to Mrs Hampshire. Mr Greene QC argued that "This was the first example of her smoothing the passage, improperly proved, to enable her to achieve the end that would have been achieved in any event." However there was the issue of whether Ms Burroughs had wanted the cottages transferred before or after her death.

Similarly, Peter Lownds, for Mrs Hampshire, alleged he had forged the will for "reasons of expediency" and that "There was no will. Having a will meant the administration of the estate could be conducted in a speedier and more straightforward manner." Mr Lownds stated, in relation to the will, that his understanding was "…It was her words, and his handwriting."

Decision

On 20 December 2016 Senior Circuit Judge Gregory Dickinson QC sentenced the Hampshires to three concurrent jail terms of six months each.

Judge Dickinson QC admonished Mrs Hampshire in particular for committing the offences while still employed by the Ministry of Justice as a disability claims tribunal Judge and for abusing her position of attorney to Ms Burroughs. Judge Dickinson QC told Mrs Hampshire that "You actually played fast and loose with the Land Registry, probate service and your own cousin's affairs", "You abused your knowledge and experience gained as a solicitor, forgetting or ignoring the need to act with integrity" and "Your terrible fall from grace and your age cannot save you from an immediate custodial sentence."

Judge Dickinson QC also made findings against Mr Hampshire, concluding that he had written the will at the direction of Mrs Hampshire and that Mr Hampshire had stolen £23,000 from Ms Burroughs' account, which was "an appalling abuse of a position of trust".

A further hearing is to be held in 2017 as to whether the Hampshires will be required to pay compensation and forfeit the cottages.

Learning point

As Judge Dickinson QC sentenced both defendants to the maximum jail term of six months under section 6 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, it appears that the Court did not accept the defendants' pleaded mitigating factors of expediency and inevitability. It goes without saying that a potential beneficiary should not seek to expedite the transfer of any property or benefits by forgery and the consequences of doing so can be severe.

 

For more information, please contact Richard Norridge, Joanna Caen or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Richard Norridge
Richard Norridge
Partner
+44 20 7466 2686
Joanna Caen
Joanna Caen
Senior Consultant
+852 2101 4167