Young v Holloway

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtProbate, Divorce and Admiralty Division

Probate - Practice - Res inter alios acta - Validity of Will - Cognizance of the Proceedings and Power to Intervene.

A person who is not a party to proceedings in the Probate Division in which the validity of a will is questioned is bound by the result only if he was cognizant of the proceedings, and had a right to intervene.

An action was brought for the revocation of the probate of a will which the Court in a previous action had held to be valid. The plaintiff was cognizant of, and had assisted the plaintiff in, the previous action; but, according to his affidavit, he had not then, so far as he knew, any interest in the suit and could not, therefore, have intervened. His case was that the will which had been declared valid was a forgery, and that he was a legatee under an earlier will which there had been a conspiracy to suppress, but that these facts had only come to his knowledge since the previous action. It appeared that the earlier will was not likely to be produced at the trial:—

Held, that the plaintiff was not bound by the result of the previous action, and that the action brought by him ought not to be dismissed as frivolous.

MOTION on behalf of the defendants, the executors of the will of Thomas Holloway, dated October 11, 1883, to dismiss the action.

It appeared that in May, 1887, an action had been tried in the Court, in which the validity of the will had been disputed on the grounds that it was not duly executed, and that the testator was not of sound mind, and had been subjected to undue influence. This action had been brought by Caroline Young, the sister, and one of the next of kin of the testator, against the present defendants as the executors and Mary Anne Driver, the sole legatee, and the Court had then pronounced in favour of the will.

The present plaintiff, William Henry Young, was the son of Caroline Young, the plaintiff in the former action, and he in this action claimed revocation of the probate of the will of 1883, according to the citation, as “the lawful nephew and one of the next of kin of the deceased and as being interested in his personal estate under a former will executed by him on or about April 20, 1876.”

In an affidavit the plaintiff described himself as “a legatee,” and stated that he had not been a party to the previous action, and could not have intervened in it, as the evidence, on which he sought to impugn the will of 1883, had only just come to his knowledge. He gave some particulars as to the preparation of the will of 1876, and stated his “belief that he was therein named as devisee and legatee of certain real and personal property.” He alleged that “this will and the drafts and papers connected with its preparation were not disclosed by the defendants in their affidavit of scripts” in the previous action, and that the signature of the testator to the will of 1883 was a forgery.

The plaintiff's allegations as to the preparation and effect of the will of 1876 were supported by the affidavits...

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