D v L and Others: ChD 16 Apr 2003

The claimant had been found guilty of the manslaughter by diminished responsibility of the deceased. He now sought disapplication of the 1982 Act.
Held: The application failed: ‘The reforms introduced by the Homicide Act 1957 were designed to preserve certain classes of offender from capital punishment for killings carried out by reason of diminished responsibility or under provocation. But the 1982 Act recognises in terms that cases of manslaughter do not qualify for relief for that reason alone. The case must be one in which an exception to the rule of public policy requires to be made in order to do justice. Had Parliament intended to disapply the forfeiture rule in all cases of manslaughter involving diminished responsibility, it would have enacted the 1982 Act in a very different form. In the present case Mr M. was killed by someone he had befriended and to whom he had only ever been generous. He was rewarded by violence and abuse, both physical and financial. Mr D.’s mental condition may have robbed him of a measure of responsibility for the actual killing, but it does not remove from him the responsibility for allowing that situation ever to arise.’


Patten J


[2003] WTLR 687, [2003] EWHC 796 (Ch)




Forfeiture Act 1982 1(1)


England and Wales


CitedIn the Estate of Cunigunda Crippen deceased 1911
Dr Crippen notoriously survived his wife. Between the date of his conviction for her murder and the carrying out of the death sentence passed on him, Dr Crippen made a will naming Ethel Le Neve as the sole executrix and universal beneficiary. Ethel . .
CitedIn the Estate of Julian Bernard Hall deceased; In re RH CA 1914
The rule against an offender benefitting from his crime applies not just in cases involving a conviction for murder.
Held: The court rejected a suggestion that a distinction should be drawn between cases of murder and manslaughter. Lord . .
CitedIn re Giles Deceased 1972
A woman had killed her husband, but been convicted of manslaughter rather than murder on grounds of diminished responsibility. A hospital order was made under the Mental Health Act 1959. It was argued that in these circumstances the forfeiture rule . .
CitedGray v Barr ChD 1970
The defendant had used a shotgun to threaten a man and the gun had accidentally gone off and killed him. The issue was whether the defendant could recover in respect of his liability under a policy of insurance. .
Held: The rule of public . .
CitedDunbar (As Administrator of Tony Dunbar Deceased) v Plant CA 23-Jul-1997
The couple had decided on a suicide pact. They made repeated attempts, resulting in his death. Property had been held in joint names. The deceased’s father asked the court to apply the 1982 Act to disentitle Miss Plant.
Held: The appeal was . .
CitedGray v Barr CA 1971
A husband had accidentally shot and killed his wife’s lover after threatening him with a shotgun.
Held: The court confirmed the decision at first instance. He was not liable to be indemnified by his insurers for the losses claimed against him . .
CitedRegina v Chief National Insurance Commissioner Ex Parte Connor QBD 1981
The court was asked whether the rule against forfeiture applied so as to disentitle an applicant from receiving a widow’s allowance when she had killed her husband with a knife. She had been held guilty of manslaughter but simply placed on . .
CitedIn Re K, decd ChD 2-Jan-1985
A wife had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her husband, though she had been subject to long term abuse by him.
Held: Relief was granted to the wife under s.2(2) of the 1982 Act. The forfeiture rule for suicide operates to sever any joint . .
CitedIn Re K (Deceased) CA 1986
The wife who had been subjected to years of abuse shot her violent husband dead in the course of an argument, when a loaded shotgun she had picked up and pointed at him as a threat to deter him from offering her further violence went off . .

Cited by:

CitedChadwick v Collinson and Others ChD 24-Sep-2014
The deceased and the claimant lived together for about 10 years in an apparently stable and loving relationship. They had a son together. They also co-owned a house (by way of joint tenancy) in which they lived. In April 2013 the claimant was . .
CitedChallen v Challen and Another ChD 27-May-2020
Forfeiture rule disapplied after spousal abuse
The claimant sought the disapplication of the forfeiture rule. She had been convicted of the manslaughter of her seriously abusive husband. The court considered whether a conviction for murder set aside and replaced with one of manslaughter was a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Wills and Probate, Crime

Updated: 26 November 2022; Ref: scu.342132