Ministry of Health v Simpson; In re Diplock dec: HL 1950

The will of Cable Diplock purported to make a gift to charity, and was distributed accordingly. The house however found the gift to be invalid.
Held: A personal remedy existed for the recovery of amounts wrongly paid in the distribution of an estate.
Lord Simonds was clear that the principles with which he was dealing related to the administration of assets of a deceased person, and: ‘The broad fact remains that the Court of Chancery in order to mitigate the rigour of the common law or to supply its deficiencies established the rule of equity which I have described and this rule did not excuse the wrongly paid legatee from repayment because he had spent what he had been wrongly paid.’
Lord Simonds did not accept that a claim should not lie against a person who had received a legacy in good faith and then spent it, without knowledge of any flaw in his title: ‘My Lords, I find little help in such generalities. Upon the propriety of a legatee refusing to repay to the true owner the money that he has wrongly received I do not think it necessary to express any judgment. It is a matter on which opinions may well differ. The broad fact remains that the Court of Chancery, in order to mitigate the rigour of the common law or to supply its deficiencies, established the rule of equity which I have described and this rule did not excuse the wrongly paid legatee from repayment because he had spent what he had been wrongly paid. No doubt the plaintiff might by his conduct and particularly by laches have raised some equity against himself; but if he had not done so, he was entitled to be repaid. In the present case the respondents have done nothing to bar them in equity from asserting their rights. They can only be defeated if they are barred at law by some Statute of Limitations.’
Simonds L
[1951] AC 251, (1950) 2 All ER 1137
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromIn re Diplock’s estate CA 1948
re_diplockCA1948
After considering a situation in which trust money had been applied in making alterations to the property of an innocent third party but had not added to the value of the property,
Held: The origin of the equitable rules of tracing were . .
[1948] Ch 465

Cited by:
CitedLipkin Gorman (a Firm) v Karpnale Ltd HL 6-Jun-1991
The plaintiff firm of solicitors sought to recover money which had been stolen from them by a partner, and then gambled away with the defendant. He had purchased their gaming chips, and the plaintiff argued that these, being gambling debts, were . .
[1991] 2 AC 548, [1988] UKHL 12, [1991] 3 WLR 10
MentionedGomez and others v Vives CA 3-Oct-2008
The claimant appealed a finding that the court did not have jurisdiction over income payable to a trust governed by English law under which the claimant was beneficiary.
Held: The appeal failed in part. Because Article 5 is in derogation from . .
[2008] EWCA Civ 1065
CitedGreen and others v Gaul and Another; In re Loftus deceased ChD 18-Mar-2005
The claimants began an action in January 2003 to seek to set aside the appointment of an administrator from December 1991, and to have set aside transfers of property made within the estate.
Held: The limitation period against a personal . .
[2005] EWHC 406 (Ch), Times 28-Mar-05, [2005] 2 All ER 700, [2005] 1 WLR 1890

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 13 December 2020; Ref: scu.259533