Tito v Waddell (No 2); Tito v Attorney General: ChD 1977

Equity applies its doctrines to the substance, not the form, of transactions. In respect of the rule against self dealing for trustees ‘But of course equity looks beneath the surface, and applies its doctrines to cases where, although in form a trustee has not sold to himself, in substance he has. Again one must regard the realities. If the question is asked: ‘Will a sale of trust property by the trustee to his wife be set aside?’, nobody can answer it without being told more; for the question is asked in a conceptual form, and manifestly there are wives and wives. In one case the trustee may have sold privately to his wife with whom he was living in perfect amity; in another the property may have been knocked down at auction to the trustee’s wife from whom he has been living separate and in enmity for a dozen years.’
The issue arose, in relation to ‘the 1931 transaction’, as to whether the acts of which the claimants complained were done on behalf of the Government of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony (in which case no claim lay against the Crown, because excluded by the 1947 Act) or the Government of the United Kingdom (in which case, if a claim lay, it was not excluded). The court accepted that the colonial government was a subordinate government, all important decisions being referred to London, and the Crown, on the advice of the United Kingdom Government, having important powers that could be used to override acts of the colonial government. But the Vice-Chancellor concluded: ‘In my judgment the government of the United Kingdom was not the government of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony at any material time. It had important advisory and supervisory functions, as well as paramount powers. It also contributed much to the governing of the colony, in general and to the 1931 transaction in particular, eg in settling the form of the 1931 lease; but it was not the government.’
As to damages: ‘Per contra, if the plaintiff has suffered little or no monetary loss in the reduction of value of his land, and he has no intention of applying any damages towards carrying out the work contracted for, or its equivalent, I cannot see why he should recover the cost of doing work which will never be done. It would be a mere pretence to say that this cost was a loss and so should be recoverable as damages.’

Megarry VC
[1977] Ch 106, [1977] 3 All ER 129, [1977] 3 WLR 972
Crown Proceedings Act 1947 40(2)(b)
England and Wales
AppliedWrotham Park Estate Ltd v Parkside Homes Ltd ChD 1974
55 houses had been built by the defendant, knowingly in breach of a restrictive covenant, imposed for the benefit of an estate, and in the face of objections by the claimant.
Held: The restrictive covenant not to develop other than in . .
CitedBracewell v Appleby ChD 1975
The defendant wrongly used and asserted a right of way over a private road to a house which he had built.
Held: To restrain the defendant from using the road would render the new house uninhabitable. The court refused an injunction on the . .
CitedHalsall v Brizell ChD 1957
Land in Liverpool was sold in building plots. The vendors retained the roads and sewers and a promenade and sea wall. A separate deed of covenant of 1851 between the vendors and the owners of the plots which had by then been sold, recited that the . .

Cited by:
CitedBath and North East Somerset Council v HM Attorney General, The Treasury Solicitor (Bona Vacantia) ChD 31-Jul-2002
Land was conveyed to the Council’s predecessor on condition that it be left available for use for sports and similar recreations, and left as an open space. It was now sought to develop the land as a home for a football club. The Council sought . .
CitedRhone and Another v Stephens CA 17-Mar-1993
A house had been divided. The original owner covenanted to repair the roof over the part which had been sold off. A later purchaser of the that part sought to enforce the covenant against a subsequent owner of the main house. At first instance the . .
CitedWrotham Park Settled Estates v Hertsmere Borough Council CA 12-Apr-1993
Land had been purchased under compulsory purchase powers. It had been subject to restrictive covenants in favour of neighbouring land which would have prevented the development now implemented. The question was how the compensation should be . .
CitedSurrey County Council v Bredero Homes Ltd CA 7-Apr-1993
A local authority had sold surplus land to a developer and obtained a covenant that the developer would develop the land in accordance with an existing planning permission. The sole purpose of the local authority in imposing the covenant was to . .
CitedJaggard v Sawyer and Another CA 18-Jul-1994
Recovery of damages after Refusal of Injunction
The plaintiff appealed against the award of damages instead of an injunction aftter the County court had found the defendant to have trespassed on his land by a new building making use of a private right of way.
Held: The appeal failed.
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Home Department ex parte Bancoult Admn 3-Mar-1999
Application for leave to appeal granted. . .
CitedRadford v De Froberville 2-Jan-1977
A contract was made for the sale of a plot of land adjoining a house belonging to the plaintiff (the vendor) but occupied by his tenants, under which the defendant (the purchaser) undertook to build a house on the plot and also to erect a wall to a . .
CitedAlfred Mcalpine Construction Limited v Panatown Limited HL 17-Feb-2000
A main contractor who was building not on his own land, would only be free to claim damages from a sub-contractor for defects in the building where the actual owner of the land would not also have had a remedy. Here, the land owner was able to sue . .
CitedNewgate Stud Company, Newgate Stud Farm Llc v Penfold, Penfold Bloodstock Limited ChD 21-Dec-2004
The claimants sought damages from the defendant. He had been employed to manage their horse-racing activities, and it was alleged that he had made secret profits. The defendant denied any dishonesty, saying all matters were known to the deceased . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs ex parte Quark Fishing Limited HL 13-Oct-2005
The applicant had previously received licences to fish for Patagonian Toothfish off South Georgia. The defendant had instructed the issuer of the licence in such a way that it was not renewed. It now had to establish that its article 1 rights had . .
CitedManuel and Others v Attorney-General; Noltcho and Others v Attorney-General ChD 7-May-1982
The plaintiffs were Indian Chiefs from Canada. They complained that the 1982 Act which granted independence to Canada, had been passed without their consent, which they said was required. They feared the loss of rights embedded by historical . .
CitedCo-Operative Insurance Society Ltd v Argyll Stores HL 21-May-1997
The tenants of a unit on a large shopping centre found the business losing money, and closed it in contravention of a ‘keep open’ clause in the lease. They now appealed from a mandatory injunction requiring them to keep the store open.
Held: . .
CitedRhone and Another v Stephens HL 17-Mar-1994
A house was divided, the house being retained along with the roof over the cottage, and giving a covenant to repair the roof on behalf of the owner of the house. The cottage owner sought to enforce the covenant against a later owner of the house. . .
CitedDavies and Others v Jones and Another CA 9-Nov-2009
The parties contracted for the sale of land for development. The contract allowed for the costs of environmental remediation, but disputed the true figure set by the eventual builder and retained. The court now heard argument about whether the sum . .
CitedBelmont Park Investments Pty Ltd v BNY Corporate Trustee Services Ltd and Another SC 27-Jul-2011
Complex financial instruments insured the indebtedness of Lehman Brothers. On that company’s insolvency a claim was made. It was said that provisions in the documents offended the rule against the anti-deprivation rule. The courts below had upheld . .
CitedRuxley Electronics and Construction Ltd v Forsyth HL 29-Jun-1995
Damages on Construction not as Agreed
The appellant had contracted to build a swimming pool for the respondent, but, after agreeing to alter the specification to construct it to a certain depth, in fact built it to the original lesser depth, Damages had been awarded to the house owner . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Equity, Constitutional, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 22 December 2021; Ref: scu.183016