Re Fuld (deceased) (No. 3): 1965

References: [1965] P 675
Coram: Scarman J
Scarman J dismissed the idea that the standard of proof required to prevent an inference of the revival of a domicile of origin on the loss of a domicile of choice was the criminal standard. An inference drawn by the court must be consistent with all the relevant proved or admitted facts. He said: ‘There remains the question of standard of proof. It is beyond doubt that the burden of proving the abandonment of a domicile of origin and the acquisition of a domicile of choice is upon the party asserting the change. But it is not so clear what is the standard of proof: is it to be proved beyond reasonable doubt or upon a balance of probabilities, or does the standard vary according to whether one seeks to establish abandonment of a domicile of origin or merely a switch from one domicile of choice to another? Or is there some other standard?
In Moorhouse v. Lord, Lord Chelmsford said that the necessary intention must be clearly and unequivocally proved. In Winans v. Att.-Gen., Lord Macnaghten said that the character of a domicile of origin ‘is more enduring, its hold stronger and less easily shaken off.’ In Ramsay v. Liverpool Royal Infirmary, the House of Lords seemed to have regarded the continuance of a domicile of origin as almost an irrebuttable presumption. Danger lies in wait for those who would deduce legal principle from descriptive language. The powerful phrases of the cases are, in my opinion, a warning against reaching too facile a conclusion upon a too superficial investigation or assessment of the facts of a particular case. They emphasise as much the nature and quality of the intention that has to be proved as the standard of proof required. What has to be proved is no mere inclination arising from a passing fancy or thrust upon a man by an external but temporary pressure, but an intention freely formed to reside in a certain territory indefinitely. All the elements of the intention must be shown to exist if the change is to be established: if any one element is not proved, the case for a change fails. The court must be satisfied as to the proof of the whole; but I see no reason to infer from these salutary warnings the necessity for formulating in a probate case a standard of proof in language appropriate to criminal proceedings.
The formula of proof beyond reasonable doubt is not frequently used in probate cases, and I do not propose to give it currency. It is enough that the authorities emphasise that the conscience of the court (to borrow a phrase from a different context, the judgment of Parke B. in Barry v. Butlin) must be satisfied by the evidence. The weight to be attached to evidence, the inferences to be drawn, the facts justifying the exclusion of doubt and the expression of satisfaction, will vary according to the nature of the case. Two things are clear – first, that unless the judicial conscience is satisfied by evidence of change, the domicile of origin persists: and secondly, that the acquisition of a domicile of choice is a serious matter not to be lightly inferred from slight indications or casual words.’
This case is cited by:

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