The defendant had been assured by the plaintiff that ‘the house is yours and everything in it.’ In reliance on that assurance she carried out improvements to the house. Although the improvements were modest, their cost represented a large part of the defendant’s savings. She claimed a constructive trust of the entire beneficial interest.
Held: The principle claim failed, but an equity had nevertheless been established in the form of a proprietary estoppel. The court went on to consider the extent of the relief that should be granted. The essential choice was between a licence for life or a conveyance of the freehold. The court came to the conclusion that the plaintiff intended to pursue his purpose of evicting the defendant ‘by any legal means at his disposal with a ruthless disregard of the obligations binding on conscience.’ In the light of that conclusion, the court concluded that the only way of assuring the defendant security in her home was by ordering the transfer of the freehold.
Ore LJ, Lawton LJ, Cumming Brice LJ
 1 WLR 431,  EWCA Civ 2,  2 All ER 945
England and Wales
Cited – Jennings 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 . .
Cited – Sledmore 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 . .
Cited – Parker 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 . .
Cited – Yaxley 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 . .
Cited – Yeoman’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 . .
Cited – Williams v Lawrence and Another ChD 28-Jul-2011
The claimant, as trustee for the deceased’s insolvent estate, sought a declaration that a transfer of the deceased’s share in property made by the executors was void as being at an undervalue. The property was subject to a right of occupation in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.182961