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Estate Duty

Volume 974: debated on Monday 26 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in view of the judgment of the High Court in October 1978 in the case of Barty-King and Another v. the Ministry of Defence [1979] (All England Reports 80) which held that the wrong test had been applied in assessing eligibility for a certificate of exemption from estate duty, he plans to take any follow-up action.

Exemption is provided from estate duty when I certify that the deased died from a wound inflicted, an accident occurring or a disease contracted when the deceased was a member of the Armed Forces and was either on active service or on other service of a warlike nature or on service which involved the same risks. A corresponding exemption is also provided from capital transfer tax.In the case referred to, it was held that too strict a test had been applied in determining whether the wound was a cause of death, and that there did not have to be a direct pathological or physiological connection. I have, therefore, authorised a review of previously unsuccessful applications. Each case on which we still hold the papers will be reconsidered and, where appropriate, a certificate will now be issued.In many cases, especially where applications were originally made more than about 10 years ago, the papers have not been retained; but these cases will be reconsidered if a fresh application is made with the necessary supporting evidence to the Ministry of Defence (legal secretariat). I understand that where, following this review, a certificate is issued any estate duty or capital transfer tax paid in respect of the deceased's estate including any settled fund in which he had a life interest will be repaid with interest at the statutory rate.