Proprietary estoppel: Widening the net

Mark Pawlowski and James Brown examine whether a proprietary estoppel claim can extend to property other than land Assuming that the doctrine of proprietary estoppel is of general application to property other than, strictly speaking, interests in land, there is no reason why a spouse or cohabitee should not be able to mount a successful …
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Howe & anr v Gossop & anr [2021] WTLR 539

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2021 #183

In 2011 the appellants sold a building to the respondents for use as a dwelling-house. In 2012, the respondents proposed that the appellants transfer the Green Land and Grey Land in return for the waiver of a debt. The respondents prepared the Green Land for use as a garden until relations broke down and the appellants sued for possession of the Green Land and the Grey Land. At first instance the judge found that the parties had made an oral agreement in 2012, and that although the provisions of s2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 has not been ...

Proprietary estoppel: Crossing the line

Andrew Vinson assesses how proprietary estoppel relates to oral contracts In all cases, the inquiry in relation to a potential proprietary estoppel is concerned with the overall result of the parties’ dealings. What is the position in which the parties would be if the court did not intervene? Proprietary estoppel is a fertile ground for …
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Oberman v Collins & anr [2021] WTLR 267

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2021 #182

In consolidated proceedings, the claimant sought a declaration that she was beneficially entitled to 50% of 41 properties on the basis of a common intention constructive trust, a partnership or proprietary estoppel. The claimant also sought relief under ss994 and 996 of the Companies Act 2006 on the grounds of unfair prejudice.

The claimant and the first defendant were in a relationship between 1995 and 2015, moving in together in 1996, and having two children. The second defendant was incorporated on 16 September 1996: 51 shares were issued to the first defendant and two shares w...

Wills & anr v Sowray WTLR(w) 2021-07

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Informal agreements and estoppel: Formality no bar to estoppel

Mark Pawlowski examines a recent case on the inter-relationship between proprietary estoppel and statute On appeal, Snowden J, agreeing with the trial judge, concluded that s2(1) was aimed at problems in the formation of contracts for sale of land, whereas an estoppel remedied unconscionability in the assertion of strict legal rights The recent High Court …
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Culliford & anr v Thorpe [2020] WTLR 1205

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2020 #181

The deceased purchased a property in Weston-super-Mare (the Weston property) in his sole name in 2002 with the aid of a mortgage loan. He met the defendant in early 2010 and by the end of the year the defendant had moved into the Weston property with the deceased and it became his main residence. The defendant undertook repair and decoration jobs around the property, including repairing the boiler and decorating the main bedroom, and undertook work for others in return for work on the property by them. The general outgoings for the property and for the lifestyle of the deceased and the d...

Horsford v Horsford [2020] WTLR 519

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2020 #179

The claimant and her husband owned and farmed College Farm in Cambridgeshire. They had three children – two daughters and one son. The defendant, who was their son, owned and farmed the adjoining Whitleather Lodge Farm and had joined his parents’ farming partnership on an equal basis.

After separating from her husband in 2011, the claimant moved into a property which had previously produced a rental income and she was concerned to secure her financial independence. This led to the claimant, her ex-husband and the defendant setting in motion the steps required for a partnership agr...

Law of Property (Misc. Provisions) Act 1989: Proprietary estoppel wins again

Sukhninder Panesar considers the case law relating to proprietary estoppel when seeking to acquire an interest in land without complying with the formalities of the 1989 Act Etherton J held that the proprietary estoppel was sufficient grounds for the enforcement of the terms of the oral contract. The question whether proprietary estoppel can be pleaded …
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Cohabitation: Fair shares in the family home?

Mark Pawlowski highlights some far-reaching implications arising out of the case law on beneficial ownership ‘The size of the parties’ respective shares upon acquisition will be determined according to the terms of their express trust regardless of their actual contributions to the purchase of the property.’ Let us begin with the following example. Suppose Mr …
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