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LN, by his next friend A, LM v. LK, The Executor to the Estate of LC, Deceased [2024] HKFC 59; FCMP 234/2022

15 May 2024

Shaphan Marwah and Christie Lee represented the Applicant, upon the instructions of Alfred Ip and Frances Tsang of Hugill & Ip, in a successful appeal against Master’s decision in the Family Court, in the recent case of LN, by his next friend A, LM v. LK, The Executor to the Estate of LC, Deceased [2024] HKFC 59. This is one of the first appeals against Master’s decisions in the Family Court. Other members of Chambers, namely Azan Marwah and Ronald Pang (both with Christie Lee) appeared on behalf of the Applicant at the original hearing before the Master.

The Applicant applied for interim financial provision for LN, a teenage boy whose father (LC) passed away, out of LC’s estate pursuant to section 7 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Ordinance (IPFDO). The application was originally dismissed by the Master on 6 October 2023, as the learned Master was not satisfied that the Applicant was in immediate need for financial assistance. She appealed against this decision together with an application to adduce further evidence on appeal.

The Applicant’s appeal was successful, and her application to adduce further evidence was granted.

In his judgment, His Honour Judge C. K. Chan confirmed that the “immediate need” for financial assistance in s.7 IPFDO means “something which calls for immediate attention” (at §30), and this was a “clear case for this court to exercise its discretion” in granting interim maintenance to the Applicant. He also held that extra tuition, which LC provided to LN before he passed away, forms part of LN’s immediate financial needs (§45).

It was also argued, inter alia, that the Applicant had no immediate needs as he had access to public assistance in the form of CSSA and that as the Applicant was able to retain counsel, he must not have access to other source of funds. The learned Judge rejected such arguments.

The judgment concluded with the following remark:

“… I have to remind myself that we are now dealing with the welfare of a minor, who has lost the care and long term financial support of his father. His whole life was turned upside down due to no fault of his. He was required to stay in an institution as compared to a normal home which he used to enjoy during the lifetime of his father. Therefore, it is important that a reasonable IM order should be put in place so as to minimise the adverse impact on A due to the death of and the cessation of financial support from the Deceased.” (at §63).

Full judgment is available here.

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