Re Philipson-Stow: HL 1961

The section excluded from liability for estate duty property ‘passing on the death which is situate out of Great Britain if it is shown that the proper law regulating the devolution of the property situate, or the disposition under or by reason of which it passes, is the law neither of England nor of Scotland.’ Issues relating to a disposition of movables must be determined according to the law of the country of domicile of the deceased at the date of his death. The proper law ‘regulating’ a disposition of immovable property for the purposes of section 28(2) was the lex situs.
Lord Denning confirmed that the question of interpretation depends upon the intention of the testator: ‘We are dealing with a will: and, whilst I would agree that the construction of a will depends on the intention of the testator, I would say that in no other respect does his intention determine the law applicable to it.
Let me take first the case where there is a disposition of movable property by will. There is no doubt that the proper law regulating the disposition of movables is the law of the domicile of the testator at the time of his death. In the leading case on this subject Lord Carnworth used the word ‘regulate’ in this very connection. When a person dies domiciled abroad, he said, ‘in every case the succession to personal property will be regulated not according to the law of this country but to that of his domicile’: see Enohin v Wylie. There is perhaps an exception in regard to the construction of his will: for if a question arises as to the interpretation of the will and it should appear that the testator has changed his domicile between making his will and his death, his will may fall to be construed according to the law of his domicile at the time he made it: though in all other respects it would be governed by the law of his domicile at the date of his death.’
Lord Reid, Lord Denning
[1961] AC 727
Finance Act 1949 28(2)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRe Levick ChD 1963
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CitedAkers and Others v Samba Financial Group SC 1-Feb-2017
Saad Investments was a Cayman Islands company in liquidation. The liquidator brought an action here, but the defendant sought a stay saying that another forum was clearly more appropriate. Shares in Saudi banks were said to be held in trust for the . .

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Updated: 09 February 2021; Ref: scu.259864