Chapman v Chapman: HL 25 Mar 1954

It was suggested to the House that: ‘A judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice has an inherent jurisdiction, in the execution of the trusts of a settlement, to sanction, on behalf of infant beneficiaries and unborn persons, a rearrangement of the trusts of that settlement for no other purpose than to secure an adventitious benefit, which may be and in the present case, is that estate duty, payable in a certain event as things now stand, will, in consequence of the rearrangement, not be payable in respect of the trust funds.’
Held: The appeal failed. Lord Simonds LC said: ‘It is not the function of the court to alter a trust because alteration is thought to be advantageous to an infant beneficiary. It was, I thought, significant that counsel was driven to the admission that since the benefit of the infant was the test, the court had the power, though in its discretion it might not use it, to override the wishes of a living and expostulating settlor, if it assumed to know better than he what was beneficial for the infant. This would appear to me a strange way for a court of conscience to execute a trust. If, then, the court has not, as I hold it has not, power to alter or rearrange the trusts of a trust instrument, except within the limits which I have defined, I am unable to see how that jurisdiction can be conferred by pleading that the alteration is but a little one.’
Lord Simonds LC
[1954] UKHL 1, [1954] AC 429, [1954] 1 All ER 798, [1954] 2 WLR 723
Trustee Act 1927 57
England and Wales
Appeal fromIn re Downshire Settled Estates CA 1953
A scheme of arrangements was proposed on behalf of infant beneficiaries to three settlements. The object of the scheme was to avoid losses to the beneficiaries by reason of inheritance tax.
Held: The court rejected the contention that it had . .

Cited by:
CitedGoulding and Goulding v James and Daniel CA 10-Dec-1996
The family sought approval of a proposed variation of the will to make best advantage of tax allowances. Because the beneficial interests of children would be affected, the court’s approval was necessary. The judge had refused to approve the . .
CitedLehtimaki and Others v Cooper SC 29-Jul-2020
Charitable Company- Directors’ Status and Duties
A married couple set up a charitable foundation to assist children in developing countries. When the marriage failed an attempt was made to establish a second foundation with funds from the first, as part of W leaving the Trust. Court approval was . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 25 August 2021; Ref: scu.241668