The recent case of Amos v Mancini & Ors  EWHC 1063 (Ch) considered the established forfeiture rules whereby an elderly woman accidentally killed her husband.
Mr and Mrs Amos were driving from their home in Wales to Canterbury, when they were involved in a road traffic collision, whereby Mrs Amos drove into the back of a queue of stationary vehicles.
As a result of the accident, Mr Amos died in hospital. Mrs Amos was charged with causing Mr Amos’s death by careless driving. Mrs Amos later pleaded guilty to the charge and was given a suspended prison sentence.
Mrs Amos was the main beneficiary of Mr Amos’ estate, however Mr Amos’ daughter (Beverly Mancini) and two other family members contested this on the basis that Mrs Amos was guilty of causing Mr Amos’ death. Their view was that Mrs Amos should be disqualified in accordance with the UK Forfeiture Act 1982, as the Act prevents someone who has killed someone from benefiting from their death.
The Act initially applied to murder and manslaughter cases, however, death by dangerous driving was added by the Road Safety Act 2006.
Mrs Amos’ legal representatives pleaded that the Court should apply their discretion under s.2 of the Act so as to allow her to inherit because she had not intentionally or deliberately killed Mr Amos.
The case was decided in Mrs Amos’ favour and the Judge commented that not allowing Mrs Amos to inherit would be “significantly out of proportion” to her own fault.
Although cases applying the UK Forfeiture Act are few and far between, it details the complex nature of the issues a Court can be asked to consider. These issues are not always clear cut, as we have seen above, and this is therefore an area where expert legal advice should be sought as early as possible.
How can Nelsons help?
If you have any questions regarding the subjects discussed in this article, please contact Kiren or another member of the team in Derby, Leicester or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online form.