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Re Cohn 1945 Conflict of Laws

Re Cohn [1945]

Re Cohn [1945] Ch5 is a case that involved conflict of law in relation to the administration of estates of a person who had died intestate.


A mother and a daughter who were German nationals and domiciled in Germany at all times were killed in an air raid in London in the same explosion. It could not be proved which of them had survived the other.


S184 of the Law of Property Act 1925 presumes that the older person dies first. Therefore, the daughter was presumed to have survived her mother and hence entitled to movable property under her mother's will.


The court held that the question of survivorship depended on the law of their domicile, so the provision of the German Civil Code rather than the Law of Property Act 1925 of England and Wales applied. In this case, the German Civil Code presumed that their deaths took place simultaneously.


As a consequence, the daughter was not a person living at the time when the succession to her mother's estate opened, so she was not entitled to the property.


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