08 March 2018

UK losing counsel series: Son fails to challenge father's will under proprietary estoppel

Paul Hewitt
Partner | UK

This lunchtime talk from Penelope Reed QC and Edward Hewitt of 5 Stone Buildings is aimed at the legal profession, accountants and legacy officers, and will assess the likely impact of the judgment on future cases, and the factors that contributed to the decision and other points of interest.


Penelope Reed QC and Edward Hewitt of 5 Stone Buildings acted for the only son of Charles James, a Dorset farmer. The son claimed the family farm on the basis of the doctrine of proprietary estoppel. He also challenged his father's will on the basis that his father had lacked the necessary mental capacity to make a will.

The Judge, in determining the challenge to the validity of the will, has given definitive guidance to resolve the apparent confusion over what the test for testamentary capacity is.

He dismissed the proprietary estoppel claim to the farm, which required the son to establish promise, reliance and detriment. In doing so the Judge made interesting, if non-binding, comments on how to work out what an appropriate award would be (ie the issue of proportionality) and what happens to somebody who has acquired land only to find out later that someone else already had a good proprietary estoppel claim to the same land.

Category: Events


20 Old Bailey,



View Office

London | 8 March | 12.45pm - 2.00pm

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