Susanna Elizabeth Merry v Christopher Blake Wacher and Others

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeLORD JUSTICE EVANS,LORD JUSTICE WARD
Judgment Date11 November 1998
Judgment citation (vLex)[1998] EWCA Civ J1111-2
Docket NumberLTA 98/6412/2
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Date11 November 1998

[1998] EWCA Civ J1111-2

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO APPEAL

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London WC2

Before:

Lord Justice Evans

Lord Justice Ward

LTA 98/6412/2

Susanna Elizabeth Merry
Applicant
and
Christopher Blake Wacher
Harvey Marston Strange Barrett
Margaret Alison Shorthouse
Nicholas Merry
Jane Swaby
Respondents

THE APPLICANT APPEARED ON HER OWN BEHALF

THE RESPONDENT DID NOT APPEAR AND WAS NOT REPRESENTED

1

Wednesday 11th November, 1998

LORD JUSTICE EVANS
2

Lord Justice Ward will give the first judgment.

LORD JUSTICE WARD
3

This is an application by Mrs Merry for leave to appeal against the order made by Wall J, on 13th May 1998, when he refused an application which she made to set aside the consent order which dismissed her application for leave to bring proceedings under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. All applications made under that Act are sad, but this case has an added poignancy to it which results in my having much sympathy for Mrs Merry. I pay additional tribute to the courteous way in which she has made her submissions to us.

4

In short the background is this. Mrs Merry is the stepdaughter of the deceased. She has two siblings, including a brother John. By the Will of the deceased, Mrs Merry was to receive £1,000 out of a fairly substantial estate and, after certain other legacies had been paid, the residue was to be left to the two children of brother John. Mrs Merry made her application, a little out of time and, consequently, needed the leave of the court to bring those proceedings. She explained that she was quite unaware of her stepmother's illness and of her death. She herself suffers the terrible misfortune of periodic attacks which affect her mental well-being. So there is overwhelming sympathy for her not having made this application in time. It may of course add to the difficulties to which Wall J also alluded, in that she is the adult stepchild and it is not always easy to establish that, once the stepfather has died, the stepmother assumed the privileges of a mother towards her.

5

Be that as it may, it seems to be common ground that there was a telephone call between Mrs Merry and her brother or his wife. The upshot of it was that she agreed not to continue with her claim, and for that to be dismissed. The issue was whether or not she was prevailed upon to withdraw the proceedings because of a promise made by her brother that he or his children, the beneficiaries, would properly look after her as a person who, by reason of her mental ill health, from time to time clearly is in need of assistance and help. She tells us with a degree of conviction that she had hoped, as a result of the conversation, that good relations would be restored within the family and that the family would look after her, as members of a...

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