Marley v Rawlings and Another (2): SC 18 Sep 2014

The parties had disputed the validity of a will, and the successful wife of the deceased argued that her costs should be paid by those challenging the will rather than from the estate.
Held: The solicitors (or their insurers) who had made the error should bear the costs of such an action. However, the contingency fee aarrangements between the defendants’ solicitors and their counsel included a 100% uplift for ‘success’ where costs were ordered out of the estate. Since the agreement between the defendants and their solicitors could render the former liable for the latter’s disbursements, the proper order for costs was that the insurers, while paying the claimant’s costs and the defendants’ solicitors’ disbursements, should pay the unsuccessful defendant’s counsel’s base fees only where they agreed to disclaim the success fees they might otherwise have claimed.

Lord Neuberger, Lord Clarke, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge
[2014] WLR(D) 402, [2014] UKSC 51, [2015] 1 AC 157, [2014] Fam Law 1682, [2014] WTLR 1511, [2014] 3 WLR 1015, [2014] 4 All ER 619, [2014] 5 Costs LR 905
Bailii Summary, SCBlog, Bailii, Bailli Summary, WLRD
England and Wales
At CAMarley v Rawlings and Another CA 2-Feb-2012
Mr and Mrs Rawlings had made wills in substantially similar format, but, mistakenly, they each executed the will intended for the other. After Mr Rawling died, the family disputed whether he had made a will. Mrs Rawling applied for rectification of . .
At ChDMarley v Rawlings and Another ChD 3-Feb-2011
A married couple had purported to make mirror wills, but by mistake had each executed the will of the other. Rectification was now sought.
Held: The will did not comply with the 1837 Act and should not be admitted to probate. The testator had . .
Main JudgmentMarley v Rawlings and Another SC 22-Jan-2014
A husband and wife had each executed the will which had been prepared for the other, owing to an oversight on the part of their solicitor; the question which arose was whether the will of the husband, who died after his wife, was valid. The parties . .
CitedBimson, Re The Estate of ChD 26-Jul-2010
Application to rectify the will under the 1982 Act.
Held: The application succeeded. Henderson J said: ‘this case falls comfortably within the scope of clerical error within the meaning of section 20(1)(a). It appears to me plain that David . .

Cited by:
CitedTrump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd and Another v The Scottish Ministers (Scotland) SC 16-Dec-2015
The appellant challenged the grant of permission to the erection of wind turbines within sight of its golf course.
Held: The appeal failed. The challenge under section 36 was supported neither by the language or structure of the 1989 Act, and . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Wills and Probate, Costs

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.536730