Moral duty

Re Christu [2021] VSC 162

The law usually steers away from moral judgments, but not always.  Did the testator here have a ‘moral duty’ to provide for the ‘proper maintenance and support’ of his adult son10?  The father had left everything to his 2 daughters, nothing to the son.

McMillan J (at [10]) said existence of a moral duty requires the court to place itself in the position of a wise and just testator measuring their obligation to provide proper maintenance and support to the applicant against ‘current community standards’11.  Moral duty concerns an expectation the testator should materially support another given the relationship, circumstances and competing claims12.

This principle is from Episode 72 of interpretation NOW!


10 s 91(2)(c) of the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic).

11 Bosch [1938] AC 463 (at 478-479), Brandon [2014] VSC 103 (at [16]) cited.

12 Kronemann [2020] VSCA 275 (at [42]), cf Collicoat [1999] 3 VR 803 (at [43]).