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Will battle leaves charity with costly legal fees

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A Yorkshire doctor who challenged the legitimacy of her mother’s will after her estate was left to charity has won her court battle against paying costs.

Dr Christine Gill had been embroiled in a lengthy-legal battle to change the provisions of her mother’s will after her entire £2 million, 287-acre, farm was left to the RSPCA. Last year, Dr Gill successfully argued that her father’s “domineering” nature had altered her mother’s decisions and tainted the will.

And this week Leeds Combined Court has also ruled that the Doctor and university lecturer should escape legal costs for her challenge, thought to be over £1 million. The court heard that Dr Gill’s legal costs totalled more than £900,000, while the animal charity’s legal bill came to around £400,000.

Both Dr Gill and the RSPCA disputed who should foot the costly bill, with the Dr’s legal team successfully claiming that the charity should have to pay 85-90% of costs.

The costs argument centred on what attempts had been made to settle out-of-court before the lengthy will trial. Judge James Allen QC found the charity had failed to resolve the dispute in an alternative way, despite repeated attempts at mediation by Dr Gill, and accused the RSPCA of being “unreasonable”.

“The (RSPCA) remained resolute in its opposition, thereto which, opposition continued after the commencement of the trial,” said the ruling.

After the hearing, a jubilant Dr Gill said: “The judgment reflects the attitude the RSPCA have taken right through this, they wouldn’t even talk to me, ever.”

Written by Andrew Hodges

February 15, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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