On 31st March 2011 judgement was handed down in the case of Ilott v Mitson & others in which John Collins, a barrister at Zenith Chambers appeared for the Claimant. The case has received national media attention and is a landmark decision in the area probate law.
HELD: The Court of Appeal conducted a thorough review of the approach to be taken in adult children’s claims under the Act. The question whether the disposition makes reasonable financial provision for an applicant is not an exercise of discretion, but is a value judgment or qualitative decision. It is very much a matter for the first instance tribunal, there is room for a legitimate difference of opinion, and a decision should not be interfered with unless the appellate court is satisfied that the decision is plainly wrong. It is inappropriate to put a judicial gloss on the words of the statute. An adult child is in no different position from any other applicant; he does not need to show a moral obligation or special circumstances. District Judge Million correctly directed himself as to the question to be decided and then carried out the s.3 exercise in a sufficient manner. The Appellant’s appeal was allowed and the matter remitted to the Family Division for the Appellant’s appeal against the quantum of District Judge Million’s decision to be heard.
HEATHER ILOTT v (1) DAVID MITSON (2) MICHAEL LAND (3) BLUE CROSS (4) ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF BIRDS (5) ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS  EWCA Civ 346 CA (Civ Div) (Sir Nicholas Wall (President Fam), Arden LJ, Black LJ) 31/3/2011
Written by Nicola Phillipson a barrister at Zenith Chambers.