The High Court has ruled today that Lord Magan, a member of the British House of Lords, is not entitled to a new tenancy of the €20m Castletown Cox mansion and 500-acre estate in Kilkenny which he had put in trust for the benefit of two of his three children, Edward Magan and Henrietta Black.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt made the declaration at a sitting of the Commercial Court in the absence of Lord Magan, who had claimed that the Jersey-based Trust had taken unlawful possession of the house in a dawn raid in May last year while the house was vacant.
Lord Magan, reported to have been worth tens of millions prior to the financial collapse of banks and other institutions 10 years ago, had rented the property back from the Trust for an annual rent in the region of €100,000.
He had fallen into arrears of more than €570,000 and the courts had granted a judgment against him for that amount in favour of Castletown Foundation Limited which was handling his children’s inheritance through the Jersey Trustees.
Magan and his son, Edward, who latterly handled correspondence relating to the legal proceedings against his father, were not in court to hear Judge Hunt’s decision and had taken little part in proceedings after several legal teams had withdrawn from the case.
Judge Hunt said today that Lord Magan had reached a stage where he was unable to pay his lawyers, and there was some evidence of a legal move having been made against his residence in London.
The court had been told by Mr Rossa Fanning SC, who appeared with barrister Stephen Dowling for the Foundation, that the trust managers, Yew Tree Trustees, Jersey, after borrowings secured on the property by a finance company reached more than €14m, had decided to bite the bullet and sell Castletown Cox.
An agreement had been reached to sell the house to an unidentified buyer for more than €19m but the purchaser had insisted on vacant possession, leading to a successful application to have Lord Magan evicted for non-payment of rent.
Lord Magan, a life peer and a former treasurer of the Conservative Party in the UK, had claimed he was entitled to a renewed tenancy which Judge Hunt dismissed today.
Judge Hunt awarded costs against Lord Magan.