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Cromwell v Copley

[2004] All ER (D) 339 (Feb)

Court: High Court
Date of Judgment: 20.02.04
Ruth Jordan

The settlor claimed rectification of a declaration of trust made on 7 April 1996. The declaration of trust created discretionary trusts for the benefit of a wide body of beneficiaries. The settlor sought an order that his wife should be included within the class of beneficiaries. The defendant was appointed to represent all those beneficially entitled under the declaration of trust and did not oppose the claim. The settlor contended that the omission of his wife in the declaration of trust resulted from a drafting error on the part of his solicitors.

The court declared that the declaration of trust be rectified.
It was well established that voluntary settlements could be rectified or set aside as a result of ignorance or mistake. There was 'strong irrefragible evidence' that the settlor's wife was mistakenly excluded from the class of beneficiaries intended to be benefited under the declaration of trust contrary to the intention of the settlor and the instructions given to his solicitors. Further, there was clear contemporaneous evidence in support of the claim for rectification. Accordingly the basis, both factual and legal, for the claim for rectification was made out.

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