Posted: Friday, 14 February 2020 @ 14:42
If all other attempts have failed, and
the administration is not progressing to the beneficiaries’ satisfaction, they
could consider applying for the executor to be removed or replaced under s. 50
of the Administration of Justice Act 1985.
This should be a last resort due to the legal
A case in this respect is Heyman v Dobson 
EWHC 3503, where a residuary beneficiary brought an application under s.50
having been unable to obtain any response from the executor to requests for
information regarding the estate.
The case is a useful starting point when
considering a s.50 application since the judgment reviews the little authority
that exists in this context.
Whether a s.50 application will succeed is a
matter for the discretion of the court and that the overriding considerations
are broadly the proper administration of the estate and the welfare of the
It is not necessary to establish wrongdoing or
fault on the part of the executor. The court will generally replace an executor
where, for example, relations between him and the beneficiaries have simply
broken down to such an extent that it is no longer possible to progress the
administration of the estate properly.
In the case of Goodman v Goodman  All ER
118 which involved an appeal against a decision to remove an executor under
s.50 Administration of Justice Act 1985. The rationale for the appeal was that
the incorrect procedure had been used by the claimants. As this was an
application to remove an executor before the grant had been obtained, it was
argued that the procedure under s.116 Senior Courts Act 1981 should have been
used. The appeal failed.
Generally, save in cases of actual wrongdoing or
fraud (such as in Alkin v Raymond)
the courts are very reluctant to remove personal representatives. The
overriding principle remains that the court will only remove an executor if it
is in the interest of the proper administration of the estate and would promote
the welfare of the beneficiaries, which will depend upon the peculiar facts of
If a s.50 application is not being made in the
course of existing proceedings, it should be brought in the Chancery Division
of the High Court using a Part 8 Claim Form, and supported by written evidence
(see CPR Part 57).
If there is more than one executor, the others
must all be joined as parties, often together with the residuary beneficiaries.
If a sole executor is being removed, a substitute should be sought otherwise
the estate will be left unrepresented.
Applications under section 50 are governed by
the Civil Procedure Rules r.57.13 and
PD57, paragraphs 12–14: and must be brought in
the High Court;
All applications will be assigned to the
Every personal representative of the estate
shall be joined as a party;
The Court Fee is £528 within the High Court.