Re Cutliffe’s Estate: CA 1958

In attacking the will, the unsuccessful defendants had pleaded undue influence as well as lack of due execution and want of knowledge and approval, but their evidence had been disbelieved. They complained that in awarding costs against them the court had not applied Spiers v English.
Held: The testator himself had not been responsible for the litigation. Morris LJ said: ‘Costs are always in the discretion of the court; but, without restricting or in any way making rigid the exercise of that discretion, the courts have given general guidance which will enable those embarking on litigation to know how, in particular cases, the discretion is likely to be exercised.’
Morris LJ, Hodson LJ
[1959] P 6, [1958] 3 All ER 642
England and Wales
CitedSpiers v English 1907
The two main principles which should guide the court in determining that costs in an appropriate suit are not to follow the event are firstly where the testator or those interested in the residue had been the cause of the litigation and secondly, if . .
CitedMitchell v Gard 1-Dec-1963
The next of kin of the deceased, who had unsuccessfully opposed the will in a testamentary suit tried before Byles J and a jury, applied for their costs to be paid out of the estate.
Held: Sir James Wilde said: ‘The basis of all rule on this . .

Cited by:
CitedFrancis Hoff and others v Mary Atherton ChD 2004
A challenge to testamentary capacity falls within the second exception in Spiers v English and not the first. . .
CitedKostic v Chaplin and others ChD 7-Dec-2007
The claimant had brought contentious probate proceedings, and succeeded in establishing that the deceased had not had capacity to make the will. The defendant beneficiaries appealed an order for costs.
Held: The costs of the trial itself . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 October 2021; Ref: scu.263527