Stokes v Anderson: CA 1991

The claimant had made two payments, amounting together to andpound;12,000, towards the acquisition of the one half share of the defendant’s ex-wife in the net equity (valued at andpound;90,000) in a house in which the claimant and the respondent lived as husband and wife. ”This is a dispute between an unmarried couple as to the beneficial ownership of a house in which they formerly lived together; compare Gissing v Gissing and Grant v Edwards [The judge]decided that the woman was entitled to half the beneficial interest in the house. The man has now appealed to this court, contending that the woman has no beneficial interest, alternatively that it does not exceed 15% at the most.’
Held: The contributions were made pursuant to a joint intention that the woman should have an interest. As to its calculation: ‘Miss Anderson’s evidence was that Mr Stokes said that she was to have a beneficial interest in the property, he did not say what the extent of that interest was to be; she assumed that it would be 50%. There is no other evidence to suggest that the extent of Miss Anderson’s beneficial interest was ever discussed between herself and Mr Stokes.’ it was open to the judge on the evidence as a whole, to find a common intention that the property should be shared 50/50, ‘it is important to emphasise that he could only have done so by inference. Although the parties had orally made plain their common intention that Miss Anderson should have a beneficial interest in the property, the extent of it had never been discussed.’ The claimant’s share was reduced from the 50% which she had been awarded by the judge to 25%, because at the time when the claimant made her payments, Mr Stokes was already entitled to a one half share; the payments were made in order to acquire the other one half share from his ex-wife. As Lord Justice Nourse: ‘. . . to hold that Miss Anderson was entitled to half the beneficial interest in Stone Cottage . . . would be markedly unfair to Mr Stokes. On a broad approach, the only approach which can be made, I think that the fair view of all the circumstances is that Miss Anderson is entitled to a beneficial interest equivalent to one half of Mrs Stokes’ half-share, or one quarter of the whole, subject to the mortgage.’


Lord Justice Nourse


[1991] 1 FLR 391


AppliedGissing v Gissing HL 7-Jul-1970
Evidence Needed to Share Benefical Inerests
The family home had been purchased during the marriage in the name of the husband only. The wife asserted that she had a beneficial interest in it.
Held: The principles apply to any case where a beneficial interest in land is claimed by a . .
CitedGrant v Edwards and Edwards CA 24-Mar-1986
A couple were not married but lived together in Vincent Farmhouse in which the plaintiff claimed a beneficial interest on separation. The female partner was told by the male partner that the only reason for not acquiring the property in joint names . .

Cited by:

CitedHyett v Stanley and others CA 20-Jun-2003
The couple had lived together at the property without being married for several years. The house was held in the man’s sole name, and after his death she sought a half share in it. It was established that she had been told she should have a half . .
CitedOxley v Hiscock CA 6-May-2004
The parties were not married, but had brought together their resources to purchase a home in the name of one of them. Nothing had been said about the respective shares on which the property was to be held.
Held: The shares were to be assessed . .
CitedVan Laethem v Brooker and Another ChD 12-Jul-2005
The claimant asserted an interest in several properties by virtue of a common intention constructive trust or by proprietary estoppel. The parties had been engaged to be married.
Held: ‘A [constructive] trust arises in connection with the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Trusts, Estoppel

Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.197738