Wilcox v Tait: CA 13 Dec 2006

The court considered the principles of equitable accounting as between co-owners of land.
Held: The question of whether there is a liability to account depends on the intention of the parties. Jonathan Parker LJ said: ‘Moreover, it is in any event risky in my judgment to attempt to formulate general principles to be applied in carrying out an equitable accounting exercise in any given case, if for no other reason than that, as the judge put it in the instant case, equitable accounting, is ‘fact sensitive’. What can at least be said is that an exercise of equitable accounting is not to be confused with an enquiry as to the extent of the parties’ respective beneficial interests in the property in question. Questions of equitable accounting only arise once the extent of the parties’ beneficial interests has been determined, since the requirement to account (where it exists) is a reflection of and derives from those beneficial interests.
As to the period to which equitable accounting should relate, in a case such as the instant case where the property has been used as a home for both parties but the relationship between the parties has come to an end (what was described in argument as a cohabitation case), the judge was in my judgment right to conclude that that depends upon the intentions of the parties as to how the relevant expenditure should be borne as between them.’
Auld, Jonathan Parker LLJ
[2006] EWCA Civ 1867, [2007] 2 FLR 871
England and Wales
CitedClarke v Harlowe ChD 12-Aug-2005
A house was bought in the joint names of the parties. It was in bad condition. An express declaration of trust said they held as beneficial joint tenants. One tenants was earning much more than the other. He paid all the mortgage instalments. Very . .

Cited by:
CitedKetteringham and Another v Hardy ChD 3-Feb-2011
Two partners had together bought several properties for development, and now disputed the interests in one of them. One partneer had dies, and the refusal of development permission and the fall in property values left the land in negative equity. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 19 October 2021; Ref: scu.249123