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The name partners at Bristol-based Davis Wood are understood to be the executors behind the will of a pensioner who specified that all the proceeds of her estate were to be paid to ”whichever Government is in office.”
According to the list of party political donations published by the Electoral Commission yesterday, a “Ms Joan L B Edwards” had donated £420,576 to the Conservatives and £99,423 to the Lib Dems.
However following a row over the Government’s decision to share the money as a party donation, instead of being spent on policy areas such as health or education, the donation was reportedly returned to the Treasury this morning (Wednesday 14 August).
The name partners at Bristol-based Davis Wood, Jim Davis and Peter Wood, are named as the executors behind the will in a document published by The Guardian. Neither of the partners responded to requests for comment when contacted by The Lawyer this morning.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) told The Lawyer that the two solicitors working on this contacted AGO and TSol and not the political parties.
When The Lawyer asked if the matter had passed attorney general Dominic Grieve’s desk he said: “It did not get dealt with by the Attorney and TSol merely gave suggestions as to what the next steps the executors may wish to take.”
An official press statement from the AGO said: ”The executors of Miss Edwards’ estate contacted the AGO about her bequest but the Attorney provided no advice on this matter.
“The Treasury Solicitors replied on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office setting out further steps the executors may wish to take to identify the correct recipient of the bequest. It did not, nor could have, advised to whom the bequest should go.”
Davis Wood was set up in 1995, previously existing as the Fishponds office of its predecessor firm Bennett & Legat. The firm did not comment at the time of writing.