Halifax Mortgage Services Ltd (Formerly BNP Mortgages Ltd) v Stepsky and Another: CA 1 Dec 1995

The knowledge of a solicitor, acting for both the borrower and the lender, of the lay clients intentions as regards the future use of the loan, is not to be imputed to the lender, even though the solicitor acts for both parties, and is the lender’s agent.
Morritt LJ discussed section 199: ‘Counsel for the wife submitted that it did not apply as the knowledge came to the knowledge of the solicitors for the lender as such when they were instructed to act on behalf of the lender on 19 June 1990. In the case of the wife it was submitted that the solicitors were not instructed by her as ‘agents to know.’
I do not accept either of these submissions. In my view the section has to be applied in accordance with its terms to the facts of this case. There is no doubt that the information as to the true purpose of the remortgage loan imparted by the husband came to the knowledge of the solicitors on 12 June 1990 as the solicitors for the husband and wife alone for they were not instructed to act for the lenders until 19 June at the earliest. That knowledge once acquired remained with the solicitors and cannot be treated as coming to them again when they were instructed on behalf of the lenders. As counsel for the wife accepted, their knowledge cannot be treated as divided or disposed of and reacquired in that way. The conclusion seems to me to be inescapable, namely that knowledge of the relevant matters facts or things did not come to the solicitors as the solicitors for the lenders. Accordingly it did not come to them ‘as such.’ It was not disputed that the lender is a purchaser within the definition contained in section 205(1)(xxi) of the Law of Property Act 1925. Consequently section 199(1)(ii)…b) precludes the solicitors’ knowledge of the relevant matters or facts being imputed to the lender.’
Morritt LJ
Times 01-Dec-1995, Gazette 11-Jan-1996, [1996] Ch 207
Law of Property Act 1925 199
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromHalifax Mortgage Services Ltd (Formerly BNP Mortgages Ltd) v Stepsky and Another ChD 27-Jun-1995
The knowledge of a solicitor, acting for both the borrower and the lender, of the lay clients intentions as regards the future use of the loan, is not to be imputed to the lender, even though the solicitor acts for both parties, and is the lender’s . .

Cited by:
CitedScotlife Home Loans (No 2) Limited v Melinek and Melinek CA 9-Sep-1997
The second defendant sought leave to appeal against a possession order obtained by the claimant. The loan obtained had been misapplied by the first defendant, her husband. She had been advised in the transaction by his partner in their solicitors’ . .
CitedHardy and others v Fowle and Another ChD 26-Oct-2007
Mortgagees claimed possession of the land. The occupiers claimed a right of occupation under a lease. The mortgagees argued that the lease had been surrendered.
Held: The lease had been surrendered by a deed. The defects in notice alleged did . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 June 2021; Ref: scu.81151