Judgment in the appeal in Re Bhusate

The High Court has handed down judgment in the appeal in the case of Thakare v Bhusate [2020] EWHC 52 (Ch).  The appeal concerned a late claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (‘the 1975 Act’).  Toby Bishop (led by Richard Wilson QC) acted for the Appellants.  Penelope Reed QC (leading Mark Dubbery) acted for the successful Respondent.

The Claimant Mrs Bhusate brought a claim under the 1975 Act more than 25 years out of time.  At first instance Chief Master Marsh had allowed an application under section 4 of the 1975 Act to allow the claimt to proceed.  That decision ([2019] EWHC 470 (Ch)) followed an earlier decision of the Chief Master striking out various claims asserted by Mrs Bhusate ([2018] EWHC 2362 (Ch)).  The Appellants appealed against the Master’s decision on section 4 and were given permission to appeal to a judge of the High Court by Mr Justice Marcus Smith.

The appeal was  heard on 13 December 2019 by Mr Edwin Johnson QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court.  The Deputy Judge considered the recent guidance of the Court of Appeal in Cowan v Foreman [2019] EWCA Civ 1336 and Begum v Ahmed [2019] EWCA Civ 1794 which had been handed down since the decision of the Chief Master.  He ultimately concluded that there was no grounds for interfering with the decision of the Chief Master.  Accordingly the appeal was dismissed.

This is the most recent in a series of important appellant decisions on the Court’s power to extend time under section 4.  Penelope Reed QC and Tracey Angus QC acted in the leading case of Cowan last year and Penelope also acted in the earlier Court of Appeal decision in Berger.  The involvement of members of Chambers on both sides of these important cases reflects Chambers’ expertise in claims under the 1975 Act at all levels of seniority.