Module Identifier LA35010  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Professor Christopher P Rodgers  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Other staff Miss Allison Coleman  
Pre-Requisite LA10110 or LA30110 or LA15710  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours Two one hour lectures per week  
  Seminars / Tutorials   4 Hours Seminar. Four one hour seminars during the semester  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam1.5 Hours 50%
Semester Assessment Essay: 2000 word essay (Required in week 9)  50%
Supplementary Assessment By retaking the failed element (ie written assignment or examination or both, as applicable)   
Professional Exemptions Not Required for Professional Purposes  

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
To give students the skill to analyse legal problems of property succession logically, and to apply information in solving individual problems. To convey the skills necessary to analyse complex factual situations.

Brief description

The Law of Succession is concerned with the devolution of assets on death, often representing the culmination of a person's lifetime works and savings. The course considers both wills and intestate succession - the rules that apply if you die without making a will.

The course explores the modes of transfering inherited wealth and property on death in a social context. The English system is contrasted with European succession laws, which have differing social consequences, and the rigid rules of intestacy where a will fails in whole or in part are appraised in the light of the Law Commission Reports.

The adequacy of current legislation to meeting obligations to family and dependants are considered in the light of the substantive case law.

Students should acquire from this course an appreciation of the legal requirements for executing the intended transfer to wealth from one generation to another and the consequences of failure to meet the challenge, often represented by resulting family feuds and the dissipation of inherited wealth by taxation and litigation.

Students taking Succession should have already studied Land Law or should be taking that course at the same time. It builds on the skills acquired in land law, but also consolidates and extends those skills.


To give students an understanding of the legal rules governing the distribution of property on death. To convey a working knowledge of the law of wills, and of intestate succession (where a person dies without a will).


1. Wills

1.1 Creation of Wills including their nature, testamentary capacity, testamentary intention and formalities and incorporation

1.2 Alterations

1.3 Revocation of Wills by destruction, later will, marriage and dissolution or annulment of marriage.

1.4 Conditional Wills

1.5 Privileged Wills

1.6 Mutual Wills

1.7 Executors

1.8 Legacies and Failure of gifts by lapse

1.9 Construction of Wills

2. Donatio Mortis Causa

2.1 Nature

2.2 Conditions

2.3 Assets which may constitute the subject matter of the gift

2.4 Situations where doctrine is relevant

3. Intestacy

3.1 Brief summary of pre-1926 rules where still relevant

3.2 Post 1925 rules of intestacy including persons falling within the statutory beneficiaries, the rules for the statutory trusts and the effect of illegitimacy, adoption, artificial insemination by donor and donated eggs.

3.3 Partial Intestacy

4. Family Provision under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants Act 1975)

4.1 Jurisdiction

4.2 Test of Reasonable Financial Provision

4.3 Persons who may apply

4.4 The order of the court

4.5 Variations

4.6 Anti-evasion provisions

4.7 How the Act may be avoided

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Parry & Clarke The Law of Succession 9th. Sweet & Maxwell
C V Margrave-Jones Mellows, The Law of Succession 5th. Butterworths


This module is at CQFW Level 6