St Aubyn v Attorney General: HL 12 Jul 1951

The donor exercised powers of appointment ‘to make some part of the settled property his own’, and it was ‘wholly irrelevant that by a contemporaneous or later transaction he surrenders his life interest in other parts of it’. The different parts of the property were distinct personal assets, none being real property or an interest in realty, and the part which he gave by releasing his life interest was not ‘property subject to a reservation’ for the purposes of the section. The donor did not receive a ‘benefit by contract or otherwise’ merely because by a separate transaction he enlarged his life interest into an absolute interest in other property. Although the section preventing an arrangement for a retention of benefit does not allow a donor to have his cake and eat it, there is nothing to stop him from carefully dividing up the cake, eating part and having the rest. If the benefits which the donor continues to enjoy are by virtue of property which was never comprised in the gift, he has not reserved any benefit out of the property of which he disposed. Lord Radcliffe: ‘it is the possession and enjoyment of the actual property given that has to be taken account of, and that if that property is, as it may be, a limited equitable interest or an equitable interest distinct from another such interest which is not given or an interest in property subject to an interest that is retained, it is of no consequence for this purpose that the retained interest remains in the beneficial enjoyment of the person who provides the gift.’ ‘ As to the word deemed ‘sometimes it is used to put beyond doubt a particular construction which might otherwise be uncertain’ and ‘In substance the position of Lord St. Levan was the position of a man who creates a rentcharge in his own favour upon property which is in his absolute disposition and then makes a gift of that property subject to that charge. Nothing is then given except the interest so charged. Is possession and enjoyment of what is given exclusive of the donor or of any benefit to him, despite his continued receipt of the amounts secured by his charge? I conclude that it is, for I cannot imagine that, had the law been otherwise, the case of Grey would have taken the course that it did. In that case Earl Grey had at least created a rentcharge for himself on parting with his estates …’ Lord Simonds: If the benefits which the donor continues to enjoy are by virtue of property which was never comprised in the gift, he has not reserved any benefit out of the property of which he disposed: ‘I venture to think that much of the argument that was addressed to the House in this case and much of the confusion that has arisen in the past on this admittedly difficult branch of the law have been due to the failure to bear in mind that that of which enjoyment is to be assumed and retained and from which there is to be exclusion of the donor and any benefit to him by contract or otherwise is that which is truly given, a proposition which is obvious enough in the case of two separate estates but more difficult to follow and apply where trusts are declared of a single property which are not completely exhaustive in favour of a donee. It should at least be clear from the judgment of Lord Russell of Killowen that by retaining something which he has never given a donor does not bring himself within the mischief of the section.’

Lord Simonds, Lord Radcliffe
[1952] AC 15, [1951] UKHL 3, [1951] 2 All ER 473
Finance Act 1894 2(1)(c)
England and Wales
ApprovedCommissioner of Stamp Duties of New South Wales v Perpetual Trustee Co Ltd PC 1943
The Board consideerd the application of the retention of benefit rules. Lord Russell of Killowen said: ‘the entire exclusion of the donor from . . enjoyment which is contemplated . . is entire exclusion from . . enjoyment of the beneficial interest . .
ApprovedAttorney General v Worrall CA 1895
The donor gave his son the benefit of a debt of about andpound;24,000 which was owing to him, in return for which the son covenanted to pay the father an annuity of andpound;735 p.a. during his life.
Held: ‘It has been held that in cases of . .
CitedAttorney General v Earl Grey QBD 1898
. .
CitedMunro v Commissioner for Stamp Duties PC 1933
In 1909, the deceased orally agreed with his six children that he and they would carry on the business of graziers on land owned by him as partners under a partnership at will. In 1913 the deceased transferred by way of gift the freehold interest in . .
CitedRe Cochrane CA 1906
(Court of Appeal of Ireland) The court considered the effectivenmess of a gift with a reservation to the donor. As to the Earl Grey case, if ever there was a case to which the statute applied it was The Attorney-General v Grey. The court referred to . .
CitedAttorney General v Earl Grey CA 2-Jan-1898
The court considered the effectiveness of a gift from father to son for estate duty purposes, where the revenue said that the father had reseved an interest in the land to himself. The conveyance to the defendant donee contained the following . .
CitedGrey (Earl) v Attorney General HL 1900
The donor conveyed land to his son by way of gift but reserved an annual rentcharge during his life which was charged on the land conveyed and which his son covenanted to pay (together with the other liabilities of the donor), and retained the right . .

Cited by:
CitedIngram and Another v Commissioners of Inland Revenue HL 10-Dec-1998
To protect her estate from Inheritance Tax, the deceased gave land to her solicitor, but then took back a lease. The solicitor then conveyed the land on freehold on to members of her family.
Held: The lease-back by the nominee was not void as . .
CitedCommissioners of Inland Revenue v Eversden Eversden (As Executors of the Will of Greenstock Deceased) CA 15-May-2003
The executors challenged the assessment to Inheritance tax on the estate. The commissioners claimed that a gift of property into a trust included a sufficient reservation of benefit to disallow it as an exempt transfer.
Held: The scheme was . .
CitedIngram and Another v Inland Revenue Commissioners ChD 23-May-1995
Lady Ingram had first conveyed properties to her solicitor who on the next day let the properties back to her, and on the day after conveyed the freehold of the properties to her family.
Held: The leases in favour of Lady Ingram, having been . .
CitedIngram and Palmer-Tomkinson (Executors of the Estate of Lady Jane Lindsay Morgan Ingram Deceased) v Commissioners of Inland Revenue CA 28-Jul-1997
The deceased had first conveyed property to her solicitor. Leases back were then created in her favour, and then the freeholds were conveyed at her direction to her children and grandchildren. They were potentially exempt transfers.
Held: . .
CitedOakes v Commissioner of Stamp Duties of New South Wales PC 1953
A father made a gift of land in favour of himself and his four children in equal shares but then retained wide powers of management for which he reserved the right to charge remuneration.
Held: The donor was entirely excluded from the . .
CitedHouldsworth and Another v Bridge Trustees Ltd and Another SC 27-Jul-2011
The court was asked as to the dividing line, for regulatory purposes, between defined benefit (normally earnings-related) schemes and defined contribution (or money purchase) schemes. The Secretary of State asserted that some methods used to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Taxes – Other

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.182743