Rawlings v Chapman and Others: ChD 3 Nov 2015

In 1992 the claimant paid substantial amounts of money towards the cost of building and fitting out a new house on farmland owned by the deceased, Mr. Hopkins, at Aggs Hill, Cheltenham. She alleged that she did so in reliance on promises, frequently reiterated, that ‘this will all be yours one day’ or words to similar effect, which she understood to mean that he would leave her the house and an area of surrounding land in his will. He did not do so. Since Mr. Hopkins’ death the land was sold by the executor and she now sought an award of an amount equal to its present value (andpound;450,000) or such lesser amount as the court decides is appropriate to satisfy her equity.
Held: The claim failed. Mr Hopkins did not make any promise to leave the house to Mrs Rawlings, nor did he say anything which led Mrs Rawlings to believe, whether or not reasonably, that such a promise had been made. Her financial contributions were made toward a hoped-for joint life with the man she loved and hoped to marry, but who turned out not to be willing to give the commitment or adjust his lifestyle in the way that she hoped. They were not given in reliance on any belief that she had been promised she would inherit the house, because she did not have such a belief. She had not made out the essential elements of a proprietary estoppel.

David Cooke HHJ
[2015] EWHC 3160 (Ch)
England and Wales
CitedGillett v Holt and Another CA 23-Mar-2000
Repeated Assurances Created Equitable Estoppel
Repeated assurances, given over years, that the claimant would acquire an interest in property on the death of the person giving the re-assurance, and upon which the claimant relied to his detriment, could found a claim of equitable estoppel. The . .
CitedThorner v Major and others HL 25-Mar-2009
The deceased had made a will including a gift to the claimant, but had then revoked the will. The claimant asserted that an estoppel had been created in his favour over a farm, and that the defendant administrators of the promisor’s estate held it . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 05 January 2022; Ref: scu.554305