At Cowan v Foreman (2019), the parties had reached a status quo agreement. The applicant wished to assert an estate right and issued her application form approximately 17 months after the statute of limitations expired. Permission to open proceedings has been sought (in accordance with Article 4 of the Act). This was heard by Mr Justice Mostyn, who decided not to grant leave. His argument was based on a two-step test: „Any status quo agreement prevented the parties from adopting a procedure during the currency of that agreement. Therefore, the applicants could not legitimately initiate proceedings until 30 November 2016 without violating the terms of the third status quo agreement. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations for rights under the Commission for Family and Dependants Act 1975 is not subject to the Statute of Limitations of 1980, but to the Statute itself. Article 4 of the Inheritance Act stipulates that proceedings must be initiated within six months of the date of issuance, otherwise the Court of Justice must be allowed to initiate proceedings. As Coulson J put it in Russell/Stone, „status quo agreements have become much more common than ever“ and yet, as this case has shown, they are often far from surviving and documenting agreements.
This practical note addresses some issues related to the use of status quo agreements and links to previous agreements. The case of Cowan v Foreman (as executor) and other FD18F00079 is a contested estate right when the wife of the deceased claims his estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. The property was estimated to be worth nearly $16 million at the time of death. Under Section 4 of the 1975 Act, an application cannot be made after the six-month period from the date of the grant of the estate has expired, unless the Court has authorized it. Here, the right was issued almost 17 months after the 6-month period expired, but part of that 17 months was the subject of a status quo agreement. The comments were made on an obiter basis, but raised concerns for the parties to the proceedings who had entered into such agreements in other rights. Elton John sings „I`m Still Standing“ on his „Farewell Yellow Brick Road“ tour and it seems that civilian assistance in England and Wales is still in place following a recent Court of Appeal decision that supports limiting the „Stillstill“ agreements. If the statute of limitations is extended – the statute of limitations usually expires on the date the renewal period expires. It will usually be a date later than if the original limitation period is to expire, but this type of agreement can also be used A status quo agreement can obtain the applicant`s position with respect to the limitation by the suspension or extension of the time limit. Where the status quo agreement has the effect of suspending the period, the applicant has the same time to assert his rights as at the date of the agreement at the end of the status quo period. If the status quo agreement only extends the period, the applicant must initiate proceedings at the end of the status quo period.
Claims filed after these deadlines are considered „prescribed“ and any right to damages is extinguished. In challenging a will, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) 1975 has a very strict and tight deadline for the issuance of the right, which is six months from the date of granting representation (s4).