Ross v Collins: CA 1964

The defendant had acted as the original tenant’s housekeeper in return for which he remitted her rent. They had never addressed each other by their Christian names and there was no question of an intimate personal relationship. After his death she sought the right to continue to occupy the premises.
Held: ‘Granted that ‘family’ is not limited to cases of a strict legal familial nexus, I cannot agree that it extends to a case such as this. It still requires, it seems to me, at least a broadly recognisable de facto familial nexus. This may be capable of being found and recognised as such by the ordinary man–where the link would be strictly familial had there been a marriage, or where the link is through adoption of a minor, de jure or de facto, or where the link is ‘step-‘, or where the link is ‘in-law’ or by marriage. But two strangers cannot, it seems to me, ever establish artificially for the purposes of this section a familial nexus by acting as brothers or as sisters, even if they call each other such and consider their relationship to be tantamount to that. Nor, in my view, can an adult man and woman who establish a platonic relationship establish a familial nexus by acting as a devoted brother and sister or father and daughter would act, even if they address each other as such and even if they refer to each other as such and regard their association as tantamount to such. Nor, in my view, would they indeed be recognised as familial links by the ordinary man.’


Russell LJ


[1964] 1 WLR 425


England and Wales

Cited by:

ApprovedCarega Properties SA (formerly Joram Developments Ltd) v Sharratt HL 1979
A widow aged 75 had developed a platonic relationship with a young man aged 24. He lived in her flat for nearly 20 years until she died. They treated themselves as aunt and nephew. The trial judge held that through their relationship this elderly . .
CitedFitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association Ltd HL 28-Oct-1999
Same Sex Paartner to Inherit as Family Member
The claimant had lived with the original tenant in a stable and long standing homosexual relationship at the deceased’s flat. After the tenant’s death he sought a statutory tenancy as a spouse of the deceased. The Act had been extended to include as . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.215877