Learning to Read

I was born in early 1960, a child of that optimistic decade by a handful of weeks. I learned to read early and was a bookish child, living in imaginary worlds remote from the ordinary suburban house in south-west London where my brother and I grew up. My first literary world was that of the Greek gods, as re-told by Roger Lancelyn Greene, followed by the Railway Children and E Nesbit’s other stories; Narnia, although tainted with the dejection of discovering at the end that it was a religious allegory, and specifically a Christian allegory; Lucy Boston’s…


It started in the days after the death of Princess Diana in the late summer of 1997. Piles of flowers, impromptu shrines with candles, cards and messages, heaped up at the gates of her London home, Kensington Palace, and in the Mall approaching Buckingham Palace. Saturation broadcasting and press coverage produced ever-increasing waves of emotion for a woman onto whom many others projected their own feelings without having known or met her in person. …


Supported will-making before the Wills Act 1837

In late May 1833, four years before Queen Victoria came to the throne of the United Kingdom and shortly afterwards gave Royal Assent to the Wills Act 1837, Starkey Jennings, a man who had been paralysed by a stroke and partially lost his power of speech, made a will. It is an unusual will because he was given considerable help to make it, when his paralysis would otherwise have prevented him from doing so at all. …


The senior partners of Barings 1926 by Ambrose McEvoy — l. to r. John Baring, second Lord Revelstoke, Cecil Baring, later third Lord Revelstoke, Gaspard Farrer, Alfred Mildmay. Barings were the original trustees of the National Fund chosen by the donor “in order to secure the benefit of your long experience”. Barings had been trading since 1726, and the donor could not have imagined that the National Fund would outlast the existence of the bank, which failed in the aftermath of the crisis precipitated by rogue trader Nick Leeson in 1995

Update: 9 November 2020 — judgment in Attorney General v. Zedra Fiduciary Services UK Ltd [2020] EWHC 2988 (Ch) has now been published on BAILII, upholding the validity of the National Fund as a charitable trust for the purpose of discharging the National Debt and deciding that the court can make a cy-pres scheme altering the charitable purposes of the trust. A future hearing will decide whether this scheme should be one which directs payment of the National Fund towards reduction of the National Debt or some other charitable purpose.

The published judgment has also revealed the identity of the…


Lost and Found — 1860–2020

This is the story behind and beyond the facts and evidence in Ommanney v Stilwell (23 Beav 328) 53 ER 129, a case decided in the High Court in England in 1856. The court had to consider the unknown date of death of naval lieutenant Edward Couch, an officer of HMS Erebus, one of the two ships of Sir John Franklin’s lost Arctic expedition of 1845, in order to determine who should inherit under Edward’s will. …


FS v RS and JS [2020] EWFC 63

In 1984, the now-defunct Trustee Savings Bank adopted the memorable advertising slogan “The Bank That Likes To Say Yes”. The customers they were saying “yes” to then were paying interest of 12.5%[1] on mortgage borrowing, at a time when average earnings for men and women were about £5,000 per year[2], and average property prices in the UK about £26,500[3].

By 2012, nearly thirty years later, the phrase “the Bank of Mum and Dad” had entered the dictionary[4], perhaps originally coined as a joke, but now widely and seriously used to describe the…


The Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2 © Barbara Rich

Introduction

On Tuesday 15 September 2020, the Court of Appeal gave judgment in R (Delve and Glynn) v. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2020] EWCA Civ 1199. Julie Delve and Karen Glynn are two women in their sixties who brought a judicial review application, claiming that legislation which increased the state pension age for women born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1960 (“50s women”) was unlawful. Ms Delve and Ms Glynn were supported by a campaign called #BackTo60, which, as its name suggests, aims to restore a state pension age of 60 for 50s women…


This blog is the fourth instalment in a series which I have written over the past six months on the prospective changes to s9 of the Wills Act 1837 to meet public health requirements of social distancing in signing and witnessing wills in England and Wales during the coronavirus crisis. The previous instalments are:

29 March 2020 — discussing the issues during the first week of lockdown in England and Wales

6 June 2020 — an update in the light of developments

21 August 2020 — discussing the guidance published by the Ministry of Justice and STEP on 25 July…


Formalities of will-making in England and Wales during the coronavirus pandemic

This is an update to blogs I have previously published on this subject on 29 March and 6 June 2020, and accompanies a webinar broadcast by my chambers, 5 Stone Buildings, on 21 August 2020.

On 25 July 2020, just before the end of the legal and Parliamentary year, the Ministry of Justice announced that the Government would be introducing legislation in September 2020 making changes to the attestation requirements in the Wills Act 1837. This announcement had been anticipated for some time, and follows well after similar legislation…


A man who had lived in this street in Islington for most of his long life died of Covid-19 in the first week of April. His wife had died a few years before him, of a lung disease caused or exacerbated by the fibres she had inhaled decades earlier, as a young woman working for an upholsterer in the Caledonian Road. After her death her husband had rapidly become lost to himself, descending into confusion and wandering in the street, the pugnacious temperament of his youth as a boxer still discernible, but grown feeble in his dementia, as he accosted…

Barbara Rich

English barrister & mediator — specialising in disputed succession & decision-making for people who lack mental capacity

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