Court orders third-party disclosure against witnesses to will - Gardiner v Tabet [2020] EWHC 1471 (Ch)

Publication Date

25 Jun 2020


In a rare decision the High court has ordered the lay draftsman and witnesses to a will to give full disclosure of their communications with the testator and the main beneficiary of the will.

The will, executed in May 2017, gave the testator’s entire estate to a friend of his, Dr Gardiner. It emerged that shortly before the will was apparently executed Dr Gardiner had provided an email, said to contain the deceased’s testamentary wishes, to one of his friends, who then showed it to the deceased and later wrote it up in the form of a formal will. The siblings of the deceased challenged the validity of the will, alleging that the signature was not authentic and that in any event he had lacked capacity and/or had not known and approved its contents. Before disclosure in the main action, the siblings sought full disclosure from the friend who drafted the will, and from the other witness, of their communications. The respondents refused, and an application was made for third-party disclosure. 


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Aidan Briggs