The RSPCA has made misleading statements in the wake of losing a High Court battle to keep a legacy worth around £2m, according to the winning claimant Christine Gill.
Last week, the RSPCA lost a bid to keep the legacy which was successfully contested by the will-maker's daughter, Dr Gill (pictured with her father).
In a press statement after the decision, the charity said: “Throughout this, the RSPCA has been in an extremely difficult position. The will left by Dr Gill’s parents was very clear - in one sentence they left their entire estate to the RSPCA, and in the next they said their daughter should receive nothing.
“In that situation the RSPCA cannot just walk away, in fact we are legally obliged to seek the funds under charitable law. That said, we are a compassionate organisation, and that’s why we’ve tried to settle this matter amicably before it even came to court. Unfortunately our offers were rejected.”
Gill: RSPCA rejected my offers
However, Dr Gill has disputed the charity’s claim.
She said she had made several offers that the charity had rejected, and had also been willing to take part in mediation, an offer that was also turned down.
“I am extremely disappointed that the RSPCA has chosen to make this misleading press statement and that it has forced me to provide this explanation, ” she said.
'Repeated assurances' from parents about inheritance
Dr Gill told the court she got repeated assurances from her parents that she would inherit the home when they died. However when her mother passed away in 2007 she found she would receive nothing.
The High Court agreed that Dr Gill’s father had forced her mother into leaving their home - Carr Farm in North Yorkshire - to the RSPCA before his death in 1999 and found in favour of Dr Gill. The court also upheld Dr Gill’s claim in proprietary estoppel – that she had altered her life and cared for her mother in the expectation that she would inherit the farm.
The RSPCA plans to lodge an appeal against the High Court decision.
The RSPCA was still considering its response to Dr Gill's claims at the time Charity News Alert went out.
14 October 2009