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CASE NAME: IN RE ANNESLEY: DAVIDSON v.

ANNESLEY

CASE CITATION:

FACTS OF THE CASE:

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.

ISSUE INVOLVED:

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.