Unger and another (in substitution for Hasan) (Appellants) v Ul-Hasan (deceased) and another (Respondents)
17th October 2022
The Surpeme Court
Whether an unadjudicated claim for financial provision under the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (the “1984 Act”) survives the death of the respondent and can be continued against their estate.
Ms Hasan and Mr Ul–Hasan married in Pakistan in 1981. They separated in 2006. Mr Ul–Hasan obtained a divorce in Pakistan in 2012. Ms Hasan’s case is that, during the parties’ marriage, they accumulated significant wealth. In August 2017, Ms Hasan obtained leave to bring proceedings for financial provision under the 1984 Act. In January 2021, before Ms Hasan’s claim could be adjudicated, Mr Ul–Hasan died. Ms Hasan sought permission to pursue her claim for financial provision against Mr Ul–Hasan’s estate.
On 2 July 2021, Mostyn J refused Ms Hasan’s application for permission to pursue her claim. Section 1(1) of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 (the “1934 Act”) provides, subject to certain exceptions, that all causes of action subsisting against a person shall survive their death and may be pursued against their estate. The judge considered that he was bound by Court of Appeal authority to the effect that a claim for financial provision under the 1984 Act was not a cause of action for the purposes of Section 1 of the 1934 Act. Accordingly, Ms Hasan could not pursue her claim against Mr Ul-Hasan’s estate. However, Mostyn J also thought that – although he was bound by it – the Court of Appeal authority was wrongly decided. He accordingly granted Ms Hasan a certificate pursuant to Section 12(1) of the Administration of Justice Act 1969 (the “1969 Act”) granting permission for Ms Hasan to make a ‘leapfrog’ appeal directly to the Supreme Court. Ms Hasan now seeks permission to do so.