Solicitors owed a duty to beneficiaries of an inter vivos trust: Lonsdale and ors v Wedlake Bell and ors [2024] EWHC 712 (KB) – Hailsham Chambers

Posted April 30th, 2024 in chambers articles, law firms, locus standi, negligence, news, striking out, trusts by sally

‘A firm of solicitors was instructed to act in relation to a trust of property, but negligently failed to give effect to the settlor’s intentions with the result that the trust failed to confer the intended benefit on the settlor’s children. Faced with a claim brought by the settlor, the trustees and the intended beneficiaries, the defendants1 sought to argue that all the claims should be struck out, on the basis that nobody other than the settlor had standing to sue, and his claim was statute barred. Martin Spencer J permitted all the claims to proceed. Most strikingly, he held that in his judgment, the solicitors owed the intended beneficiaries a direct duty of care. Accordingly, the judgment amounts to an open invitation to the court, at any subsequent trial of this or a similar claim, to dispense with the complexity that bedevils this area of the law and adopt a relatively straightforward route to a remedy for disappointed beneficiaries of irrevocable inter vivos trusts.’

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Hailsham Chambers, 16th April 2024