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IN RE ANNESLEY: DAVIDSON v.

ANNESLEY

FACTS:

Sybil Annesley, a British woman, married James O’Donel Annesley whose domicile was English
and lived in France. After her husband’s death, she resided continuously there until her death in 1924. She
never took steps prescribed by Art. 13 of the French Civil Code to obtain a formal French domicile.

At the time of her death, she owned an immovable property in France (Chateau de Quillebaudy),
and movable property (trust money) both in France and in England.

On November 1919, she executed a holograph will in French language, stating that her two
daughters had their share of her property.

On December 1919, she likewise executed in France a will in English form, revoking all former
testamentary dispositions. The will also provide that after all dispositions of her real and personal estate,
the ultimate residue is given to her daughter, Miss Annesly, absolutely. In addition, the will also
contained provisions wherein Sybil stated that she has no intention of abandoning her England domicile,
and that she intend to remain a British subject. On July 1921, she executed also in France a codicil in
English form, confirming her dispositions in the will.

BASED ON: BRITISH LAW (ENGLAND) BASED ON: FRENCH LAW (FRANCE)
Testatrix is domiciled in France Testatrix should comply with Art. 13 to acquire
French domicile. (England is still her domicile)
No law on how to dispose estate. Testatrix could only dispose of 1/3 of her personal
property.

Probate proceedings on the will were made before the English Courts.

ISSUE:

What law will govern, as to the determination of the testatrix’ domicile which will affect the
dispositions of the will: French or English law?

RULING:

Domicile flows from the combination of fact and intention, the fact of residence and the intention
of remaining for an unlimited time. The intention required is not an intention specifically directed to a
change of domicile, but an intention of residing in a country for an unlimited time. The Court here
conceded that domicile cannot depend upon mere declaration, though the fact of the declaration having
been made must be one of the elements to be weighed in arriving at a conclusion on the question of
domicile.

The question whether Sybil Annesley died domiciled in France must be answered by ascertaining
whether she had abandoned her English domicile and had acquired a French domicile of choice in
accordance with the requirements of the English law – namely, by the

1. Factum of residence coupled with animus manendi, and


2. That regardless of the question whether she had not complied with the formalities required by
French law to be carried out by her before she could rank as a domiciled French woman.
Testatrix’ domicile at the time of her death was French.

French Law accordingly applies, but the question remains: what French law? According to
French municipal law, the law applicable in the case of a foreigner not legally domiciled in France is the
law of that person’s nationality, in this case is British. But the law of that nationality refers the question
back to French law, the law of the domicile; and the question arises, will the French law accept this
reference back, or renvoi, and apply French municipal law?

After careful consideration of the evidences, it was ruled that according to French law, in
administering the movable property of the deceased foreigner who, according to the law of his country, is
domiciled in France, and whose property must, according to that law, be applied in accordance with the
law of the country in which she was domiciled, will apply French municipal law, even though the
deceased had not complied with Art. 13 of the French Civil Code.

Regards her English personal estate and her French movable property the testatrix in this case had
power only to dispose of 1/3 by her will.