Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| BRIAN GEORGE KENNEDY & ORS
|- and -
|PATRICK BRIAN KENNEDY & ORS
The Defendants were not represented
Hearing dates: 18th NOVEMBER 2014
Crown Copyright ©
The Chancellor (Sir Terence Etherton):
"the remainder of the Trust Fund (other than the First Appointed Fund and the Second Appointed Fund) shall henceforth be held upon trust for the Settlor absolutely and free from all the trusts powers and provisions of the Settlement"
(1) There must be a distinct mistake as distinguished from mere ignorance or inadvertence or what unjust enrichment scholars call a "misprediction" relating to some possible future event. On the other hand, forgetfulness, inadvertence or ignorance can lead to a false belief or assumption which the court will recognise as a legally relevant mistake. Accordingly, although mere ignorance, even if causative, is insufficient to found the cause of action, the court, in carrying out its task of finding the facts, should not shrink from drawing the inference of conscious belief or tacit assumption when there is evidence to support such an inference.
(2) A mistake may still be a relevant mistake even if it was due to carelessness on the part of the person making the voluntary disposition, unless the circumstances are such as to show that he or she deliberately ran the risk, or must be taken to have run the risk, of being wrong.
(3) The causative mistake must be sufficiently grave as to make it unconscionable on the part of the donee to retain the property. That test will normally be satisfied only when there is a mistake either as to the legal character or nature of a transaction or as to some matter of fact or law which is basic to the transaction. The gravity of the mistake must be assessed by a close examination of the facts, including the circumstances of the mistake and its consequences for the person who made the vitiated disposition.
(4) The injustice (or unfairness or unconscionableness) of leaving a mistaken disposition uncorrected must be evaluated objectively but with an intense focus on the facts of the particular case. The court must consider in the round the existence of a distinct mistake, its degree of centrality to the transaction in question and the seriousness of its consequences, and make an evaluative judgment whether it would be unconscionable, or unjust, to leave the mistake uncorrected.