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Savage v Savage [2024] EWCA Civ 49

The Court of Appeal have handed down judgment in Savage v Savage [2024] EWCA Civ 49, clarifying the respective rights of majority and minority beneficiaries when disputes arise over trusts of land.

William Moffett and Amber Turner, instructed by Simon Donald of Cripps LLP, represented the successful appellant in a second appeal.

The case considered the meaning of subsection 15(3) of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA), and whether the statutory direction that the court must have regard to the circumstances and wishes of the majority in the case of a dispute between beneficiaries means necessarily that the Court must disregard the circumstances and wishes of the minority. On first appeal it had been held that subsection 15(3) meant just that.

The Court of Appeal disagreed. Providing welcome clarification of section 15 TOLATA, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the circumstances and wishes of minority beneficiaries were not so excluded. For William and Amber’s client this meant restoring a first instance decision which had granted him a right of pre-emption in respect of various parcels of family farmland from which he operated his businesses, notwithstanding that he is a minority beneficiary and the majority beneficiary (his uncle) had objected and pressed for an immediate sale on the open market.

Read the full judgment, here.