The Solicitor for the Affairs of HM Treasury v Doveton and Another: ChD 13 Nov 2008

The claimant requested the revocation of a grant of probate to the defendant. They had suspicions about the will propounded and lodged a caveat which was warned off and the grant completed. In breach of court orders, the defendant had transferred substantial estate assets abroad. The defendant said that the burden of proving that the will was a fraud was higher than the balance of probabilities.
Held: Earlier authorities on the applicable standard of proof needed to be read in the light of more recent authority (particularly in re Doherty). Accordingly ‘the civil burden of proof applies to this case, and the seriousness of the allegations made against Mr Doveton and the consequences of a possible finding against him do not alter that. They affect my task in a different way, namely that they are extremely important factors which I must take fully into account in deciding, on the balance of probabilities, whether the Treasury Solicitor has made out its case.’
The executor’s case faced many real difficulties, and the court concluded that the will could not stand. The court made orders under the 1986 Act to set aside the transactions found by the judge to have been made in an attempt to avoid creditors.

Sir Mark Herbert QC
[2008] EWHC 2812 (Ch), [2009] BPIR 352
Insolvency Act 1986 423(1)
England and Wales
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Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Wills and Probate

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.377224