Academic lawyer, Ken Mackie, has in a law journal article explained how “it is a well-established principle that if a person is criminally responsible for the death of another, and that death is a material fact in the vesting of property in favour of that person, then the interest in that property is forfeited.”
Mackie writes that this “forfeiture rule”, as it is commonly known, is based upon public policy. He cites an English case from 1892 when the judge observed rather wordily:
“…no system of jurisprudence can with reason include among the rights which it enforces rights directly resulting to the person asserting them from the crime of that person.”
Queensland Solicitor Bryan Mitchell has explained what happens to jointly owned property in the case of a non-criminal death:
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