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Winning A Fair Share

Member: Nifa

Appeal Court judges have ruled that the ‘Cinderella’ daughter of  farmers in Wales should receive a fair share in her parents’ £7m estate for the years of low-paid work she had put into it.  Eirian Davies was repeatedly assured by her parents that she would ultimately take over the family’s thriving farm and pedigree milking herd but, following a row in 2012, they began legal proceedings to evict her, while she began a legal battle to claim what she said was her rightful share in the business.  Miss Davies won her case initially but her parents challenged the verdict, leading to the case being heard in the Court of Appeal last week.

At the original hearing, Judge Milwyn Jarman QC ruled that Miss Davies had relied on her parents’ promises and thrown herself into working on the farm, often for no or very little money. She was thus entitled to a ‘beneficial interest’ in the highly successful business.  Forensic accountants frequently advise in such cases, as they work out a valuation of the business and the amount of work that individuals have put into making it a success, in order to arrive at a fair share figure.

In this case, it was evident that Miss Davies had put in many hours of hard work and was often excluded from the outings and events attended by her two sisters and left at home with a “muck fork” so that she could continue work on the farm.  In such cases, the forensic accountants could look at the case from both sides in order to be able to defend their client’s position and verify his or her claim.

They would work out the figures and then prepare a detailed, thorough but clear report for use in the case so that the judge could have all the facts and figures to hand in order to make an informed decision, which, in this case, was that Cinderella could, after all, go to the ball.

Author: Roger Issacs – 16 May 2014

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