Crabb v Arun District Council: CA 23 Jul 1975

The plaintiff was led to believe that he would acquire a right of access to his land. In reliance on that belief he sold off part of his land, leaving the remainder landlocked.
Held: His claim to have raised an equity was upheld. The plaintiff should have a right of access without payment.
Scarman LJ said: ‘There being no grant, no enforceable contract, no licence, I would analyse the minimum equity to do justice to the plaintiff as a right either to an easement or to a licence on terms to be agreed. I do not think it is necessary to go further than that. . . If there is no agreement as to terms, if agreement fails to be obtained, the court can, in my judgment, and must, determine in these proceedings upon what terms the plaintiff should be put to enable him to have the benefit of the equitable right which he is held to have.’
The court should approach the task cautiously to achieve ‘the minimum equity to do justice to the plaintiff.’

Denning MR, Lawton LJ, Scarman LJ
[1976] Ch 179, [1975] 3 All ER 865, [1975] EWCA Civ 7
England and Wales
CriticisedRamsden v Dyson HL 1866
The Vice-Chancellor had held that two tenants of Sir John Ramsden, the owner of a large estate near Huddersfield, were entitled to long leases of plots on the estate. They ostensibly held the plots as tenants at will only, but they had spent their . .

Cited by:
CitedJennings v Rice, Wilson, Marsh, Norris, Norris, and Reed CA 22-Feb-2002
The claimant asserted a proprietary estoppel against the respondents. He had worked for the deceased over many years, for little payment, and doing more and more for her. Though he still worked full time at first, he came to spend nights at the . .
CitedWilson v Truelove ChD 25-Mar-2003
The claimants requested a declaration that an option to repurchase land was void under the 1964 Act.
Held: The option to repurchase land was prima facie void. The right arose on the coming into existence of the agreement, or at the latest on . .
CitedSledmore v Dalby CA 8-Feb-1996
The plaintiff sought possession of a house. She had owned it with her late husband. The defendant lived in and had done much work on the house, but the deceased left it all to the plaintiff and the defendant’s wife who had since also died. She . .
ApprovedOrgee v Orgee CA 5-Nov-1997
The defendant had claimed an agricultural tenancy under a proprietary estoppel. His claim succeeded at first instance. The judge found it had been clearly understood that he would continue to farm the land on the basis of an agricultural tenancy, as . .
CitedParker v Parker ChD 24-Jul-2003
Lord Macclesfield claimed a right to occupy a castle. The owners claimed that he had only a mere tenancy at will. The exact rooms in the castle which had been occupied had varied over time.
Held: The applicant was entitled to reasonable . .
CitedWillis v Hoare 1999
Auld LJ said of Crabb: there ‘could be no doubt as to the nature and extent of the remedy required to give effect to [the] equity’. Of JT Developments ‘the nature and terms of the equity were readily identifiable’. Auld LJ said: ‘There may be . .
CitedYaxley v Gotts and Another CA 24-Jun-1999
Oral Agreement Creating Proprietory Estoppel
The defendant offered to give to the Plaintiff, a builder, the ground floor of a property in return for converting the house, and then managing it. They were friends, and the oral offer was accepted. The property was then actually bought in the name . .
CitedGrant v Edwards and Edwards CA 24-Mar-1986
A couple were not married but lived together in Vincent Farmhouse in which the plaintiff claimed a beneficial interest on separation. The female partner was told by the male partner that the only reason for not acquiring the property in joint names . .
CitedWormall v Wormall CA 25-Nov-2004
The father had allowed his daughter to run her business from the family farm. The mother and father came to divorce, and the father required vacanat possession of the farm so that he could sell it to satisfy his liabilities in the ancillary relief . .
CitedStrover and Another v Strover and Another ChD 10-May-2005
Insurance policies had been taken out by the partners in a firm. The surviving family of one and the remaining partners contested ownership. The policy was held in part for the benefit of the family. The premiums had been paid from partnership . .
CitedVan Laethem v Brooker and Another ChD 12-Jul-2005
The claimant asserted an interest in several properties by virtue of a common intention constructive trust or by proprietary estoppel. The parties had been engaged to be married.
Held: ‘A [constructive] trust arises in connection with the . .
CitedStack v Dowden HL 25-Apr-2007
The parties had cohabited for a long time, in a home bought by Ms Dowden. After the breakdown of the relationship, Mr Stack claimed an equal interest in the second family home, which they had bought in joint names. The House was asked whether, when . .
CitedThe Picture Warehouse Ltd v Cornhill Investments Ltd QBD 23-Jan-2008
The tenant appealed against a decision that provision for parking should not be included in the new tenancy granted to him under the Act. The original lease had been intended to be varied to move the tenant to allow some rebuilding, and new parking . .
CitedLondon Borough of Bexley v Maison Maurice Ltd ChD 15-Dec-2006
The council had taken land by compulsory purchase in order to construct a dual carriageway. It then claimed that it had left undedicated a strip .5 metre wide as a ransom strip to prevent the defendant restoring access to the road.
Held: The . .
CitedYeoman’s Row Management Ltd and Another v Cobbe HL 30-Jul-2008
The parties agreed in principle for the sale of land with potential development value. Considerable sums were spent, and permission achieved, but the owner then sought to renegotiate the deal.
Held: The appeal succeeded in part. The finding . .
CitedGill v Woodall and Others ChD 5-Oct-2009
The claimant challenged her late mother’s will which had left the entire estate to a charity. She asserted lack of knowledge and approval and coercion, and also an estoppel. The will included a note explaining that no gift had been made because she . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Equity, Land

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.183817