In a landmark judgment handed down on 12 August 2022 Deputy Master Raeburn granted an application by Margarita Hamilton for an order vesting legal title in Walton Castle in Clevedon, Somerset, consequent upon the dissolution of its former legal owner, Walton Properties Ltd, who held the property on trust of land for itself and Mrs Hamilton.
The claim, brought under section 44 (ii) (c) of the Trustee Act 1925, required the court to determine what was the effect on the title to land situate in England of the dissolution, and subsequent restoration of its legal owner, a Guernsey-registered company. The judge agreed with Mrs Hamilton’s analysis that the property vested in the Crown on dissolution of the company, the position being governed by English common law as the lex situs rather than by Guernsey or English companies legislation, and that on the company’s restoration there was no automatic revesting of the property in the company under English common law, in contrast to the position which would apply under statute. In consequence, legal title remained vested in the Crown, and the court retained its power to make a vesting order in favour either of Mrs Hamilton, as a beneficiary, or the company, under the 1925 Act. On the particular facts of the case it was held that Mrs Hamilton’s claim for such order should prevail over the competing claim of the company for the property be revested in it.
Edward Francis acted for Mrs Hamilton. A copy of the judgment is available here.