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 sought possession after the defendant paid no rent. At first instance it was held that D had acquired an equitable interest in the house for the repairs and the expectation under the wills.
Held: The will created no sufficient legitimate expectation to justify the claim. The plaintiff’s and defendants needs had to be balanced, and an equitable remedy should not be used to create an injustice. The plaintiff’s need was more pressing. D had lived in the house for 20 years rent free and the equity created by his expenditure had expired.


Roch LJ, Hobhouse LJ


[1996] 72 P and CR 196, [1996] CLY 4949, [1996] EWCA Civ 1305




England and Wales


CitedInwards v Baker CA 13-Jan-1965
An indulgent father had encouraged his son to build a bungalow on his, the father’s, land. The son had done so in the expectation, encouraged by the father, that he would be permitted to remain in occupation.
Held: The court formulated the . .
CitedCrabb v Arun District Council CA 23-Jul-1975
The plaintiff was led to believe that he would acquire a right of access to his land. In reliance on that belief he sold off part of his land, leaving the remainder landlocked.
Held: His claim to have raised an equity was upheld. The plaintiff . .
CitedPascoe v Turner CA 1-Dec-1978
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 . .

Cited by:

CitedJennings 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 . .
CitedFisher v Brooker and Others HL 30-Jul-2009
The claimant sought a share in the royalties from the song ‘A whiter shade of pale’ but had delayed his claim for 38 years. He had contributed the organ solo which had contributed significantly to the song’s success. He now sought a share of future . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Equity

Updated: 28 June 2022; Ref: scu.183180