...By Gift BADEWO for TDPel Media.
Sister sues brothers over ‘sexist’ will and wins £652,000 payout
Julie Mate, a 62-year-old woman, sued her brothers, Robert and Andrew Mate, for receiving the entirety of their parents’ West Yorkshire dairy farm.
She claimed that she had worked alongside her brothers on the land, sacrificing her social and school life as a child and dreamed of helping to run the farm as an adult.
But she was not wanted by her brothers, and she claimed that Robert told her ‘you’re not coming back’ after university, while Andrew treated her like ‘a silly woman.’
Julie was ‘devastated and dumbfounded’ when her father, Donald Mate, died in 1992, and left his share of the 140-acre farm to his wife Shirley and the sons, with his daughters, Julie, Gillian Robson, and Virginia Boothroyd, sharing only £36,000 between them.
Shirley, 89, later gave her shares to the sons.
Julie sued and in February was awarded a £652,000 payout from her brothers.
That was after a judge found it was her work to remove part of the farmland from the Green Belt that allowed the brothers to pocket a £9million windfall by then selling that land to property developers.
Brothers face a £1m legal bill after losing court fight
Robert and Andrew Mate are facing a £1million legal bill after losing a court fight with their sister, Julie Mate, who sued them over the ‘sexist’ will.
Yesterday, the brothers were handed another massive court bill after Judge Andrew Sutcliffe KC ordered them to pay 75% of Julie’s lawyers’ bills, estimated at about £500,000, with about £269,000 up front, pending a full assessment.
On top of their own lawyers’ bills, it means the total cost of the defeat in court for the two brothers will be more than £1million.
Julie Mate’s claim and the judge’s ruling
Julie Mate claimed that she had been promised an equal share of the proceeds of sale if she managed to have the land removed from the Green Belt, which she sued unsuccessfully.
The judge said there was no documentary evidence to show that such promises were made, and the first time Julie mentioned them was in a letter in 2020.
However, she also sued for ‘unjust enrichment,’ claiming that her brothers had benefited hugely from her work and that she never intended to do it ‘for nowt.’
Ruling in her favour on that point, the judge said that he accepted Julie’s evidence that at no time did she tell either of her brothers or Shirley that she would work on this project for nothing, without expectation of any reward.