Moody v Stevenson: CA 12 Jul 1991

The widower aged 81, appealed against refusal of provision under the 1975 Act from his wife’s estate. She had left him nothing. The judge at first instance had found, applying Styler, that her treatment was not unreasonable, and that therefore no jurisdiction to make an award arose.
Held: The court considered the application of section 3(2): ‘and, in the case of an application by the wife or husband of the deceased, the court shall also, unless at the date of death a decree of judicial separation was in force and the separation was continuing, have regard to the provision which the applicant might reasonably have expected to receive if on the day on which the deceased died the marriage, instead of being terminated by death, had been terminated by a decree of divorce.’
Waite J said: ‘The objective is that the acceptable minimum posthumous provision for a surviving spouse should correspond as closely as possible to the inchoate rights enjoyed by that spouse in the deceased’s lifetime by virtue of his or her prospective entitlement under the matrimonial law.’ and ‘In other words the Act of 1975, when stripped down to its barest terms, amounts to a direction to the judge to ask himself in surviving spouses cases: `What would a family judge have ordered for this couple if divorce instead of death had divided them; what is the effect of any other section 3 factors of which I have not taken account already in answering that question; and what, in the light of those two inquiries, am I to make of the reasonableness, when viewed objectively, of the dispositions made by the will and/or intestacy of the deceased?’ If the judge finds those dispositions unreasonable, he will go on to ask himself: `What, in the light of those same inquiries, would be a reasonable provision for me to order for the applicant under section 2?” and ‘The starting point when fixing an appropriate provision under section 2 of the Act will, as already explained, be a consideration of the presumed entitlement of the husband under a notional divorce.’ In this case, the result was an order permitting him to continue to occupy the house.
Mustill LJ and Waite J
[1992] Ch 486, [1992] 2 WLR 640, [1992] 2 All ER 524, Independent 17-Sep-1991, Times 30-Jul-1991
Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 3(2)
CitedRe Besterman, decd CA 1984
In the case of an application under the Act by a surviving spouse, maintenance is not the only, or even the dominant, consideration to be taken into account by the court. ‘In an application under section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 the . .
[1984] Ch 458
CitedIn re Styler 1942
. .
(1942) Ch 387

Cited by:
CitedJessop v Jessop CA 2-Jan-1992
The court considered the provision to be made under the 1975 Act for a surviving spouse: ‘In his argument in this court Mr. Vane relied strongly on s 3(2) and referred us to a recent case in this court, Moody v. Stevenson, a decision of Mustill LJ . .
[1992] 1 FLR 591
CitedMoorhead v Moorhead ChNI 11-Jan-2002
The deceased’s widow complained that her husband’s will had not made proper provision for her as was required by the order which ‘ In the case of a spouse reasonable financial provision means such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all . .
[2002] NICh 1
Not preferredKrubert, Re CA 27-Jun-1996
The beneficiaries under the will appealed against an order under the 1975 Act, effectively transferring the entire estate to the surviving spouse.
Held: The effect of sections 1, 2 and the other material provisions of the 1975 Act is that on . .
Gazette 17-Jul-96, Times 16-Jul-96, [1997] Ch 96, [1996] EWCA Civ 1346
CitedBarron v Woodhead and Another ChD 25-Jun-2008
The claimant sought provision under the 1975 Act from the estate of his deceased wife. . .
[2008] WTLR 1675, [2008] Fam Law 844, [2008] EWHC 810 (Ch), [2009] 1 FLR 747, [2009] 2 FCR 631

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 15 December 2020; Ref: scu.196902