Fraser and Another v Canterbury Diocesan Board of Finance and others: HL 27 Oct 2005

Land had been acquired by a deed under the 1841 Act, but had in 1995 ceased to be used as a school ‘for the education of children and adults of the labouring manufacturing and other poorer classes . . And for no other purpose ‘. Under the Act, the land would revert to the claimants as beneficiaries of the original grantors. The respondent ‘DBF’ argued that the claim had been lost by limitation because the land hac been used for other purposes (the education of children from outside the district and middle-class children) before the 1987 Act came into force, and that they became successors to the school trustees for uses beyond the deed, which brought the reverter.
Held: The reverters’ appeal succeeded and their claim restored. The trustees acquired the school for the purposes of the 1841 Act, not only under the explicit declaration in the deed. There might be a claim for breach of the caritable trusts but no further. There was moreover insufficient evidence to allow an inference of breach of trust. The CA had been wrong to interpret the judge’s findings of fact in the way they had.
Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood
Times 31-Oct-2005, [2005] UKHL 65, [2005] 3 WLR 964, [2006] 1 All ER 315
Bailii, House of Lords
School Sites Act 1841, Reverter of Sites Act 1987 1
England and Wales
CitedAttorney General v Shadwell 1910
Land in Northholt was granted under the 1841 Act for use as a school. In 1907 the school was closed, another school having been opened by the local authority nearby. Thereafter the building was used only once a week for a Sunday school. The Board of . .
CitedIn re Ingleton Charity 1956
The effect of section 2 of the 1841 Act is that if a reverter occurred but the trustees of the school remain in possession for 12 years, the title by reverter will usually become statute-barred. . .
Appeal fromFraser and Fraser v Canterbury Diocesan Board of Finance Integrated Services Programme CA 28-Jan-2004
The claimants sought a reversion of land conveyed under the 1841 Act to trustees. The defendants (‘DBF’) as succesors to the trustees argued that by extending the range of pupils in the school, the trustees acquired a title independent of and . .
At first instanceFraser and Another v Canterbury Diocesan Board of Finance and Another Chd 14-May-2003
The claimants sought to assert that land acquired under the 1841 Act reverted to them on its ceasing to be used for the purposes of a school. Lewison J summarised the evidence: ‘An analysis of the school registers for 1931 to 1947 shows that the . .
CitedHabermehl v Attorney General 1996
Land was granted for use as a school for the education of poor persons in accordance with the principles of the National Society. In 1876 the school had become a ‘provided school’ run by a School Board under the Education Act 1870. That meant that, . .
CitedNational Society v School Board of London 1874
The National Society raised large sums by subscription and made grants in favour of schools in which children were to be instructed (in addition to reading, writing and arithmetic) in holy scripture and in the liturgy and catechism of the . .
CitedClavering v Ellison 1859
Any provision determining or divesting an estate held on trust ‘must be such that the Court can see from the beginning, precisely and distinctly, upon the happening of what event it was that the preceding vested estate was to determine’ . .
CitedIn Re Cawston’s Conveyance and the School Sites Act 1841 CA 1940
The 1841 Act was intended to encourage land owners to make land available for educational purposes: ‘One can see that the provision with regard to reverter would have been and no doubt was considered by the Legislature to be a very useful . .
CitedIn re Lysaght (deceased) 1966
A general charitable purpose (or intention) should be recognised and given effect to, even though some particular directions given by the charity’s founder are (or become) impracticable. . .
CitedClayton v Ramsden HL 1943
A condition in the will was that the legatee, his daughter, should not marry a person ‘not of Jewish parentage and of the Jewish faith.’
Held: The condition was void for uncertainty. Lord Russell of Killowen said: ‘The courts have always . .
CitedFraser and Another v Canterbury Diocesan Board Of Finance (No 1) CA 24-Nov-2000
A grant of land was made under the 1841 Act in 1872 (after the 1870 Act) and the school had in 1874 been transferred to a school board under section 23 of the 1870 Act. The school closed permanently in 1992. The issue was whether reverter had . .
CitedFraser and Another v Canterbury Diocesan Board of Finance ChD 22-Feb-2000
Where land had been acquired under the Act on trusts related specifically to the provision of education in accordance with a specified religion, the abandonment by the school of that purpose meant that the land reverted immediately to the original . .

Cited by:
CitedSt Mary and St Michael Parish Advisory Company Ltd v The Westminster Roman Catholic Diocese Trustee, Her Majesty’s Attorney Genera and others ChD 6-Apr-2006
Parish members objected to the building within the church grounds of an education centre. They said that the land was to be used for the purposes of the members of the parish only under a trust deed of 1851.
Held: The deed had to be construed . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 March 2021; Ref: scu.231606