Family Law Hub

Rowland v Blades [2021] EWHC 426 (Ch)

A judgment on the trial of a claim under CPR Part 8 for declaratory relief as to the beneficial interests in a large country house in Oxfordshire. The couple, in their 50s and unmarried at the time, had caused the Property to be conveyed into their joint names with no declaration of trust. The male partner (and claimant) had paid the whole of the purchase price. The couple had split up soon afterwards, but the female partner had continued to use the property from 2009 until 2018. Deputy Master Hansen concluded that some of the male partner's evidence was unreliable, certain discussions having been misremembered. Nothing he had done or said at the material time could or would have caused his partner to think that he intended anything other than that they would own the property jointly at law and in equity, intending that, on the death of one of them, the surviving joint tenant would become the sole owner by right of survivorship. The parties' post-acquisition conduct was not such as to warrant any inference or imputation varying the beneficial interests. However, Deputy Master Hansen considered it just for the female partner to pay an occupation rent of £59,958 to the claimant, due to the times at which she had excluded him and his new partner from the property for her exclusive use. The claimant was ordered to pay 90% of the defendant's costs of the action, to be subject to detailed assessment if not agreed.

Judgment, published: 18/03/2021

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Published: 18/03/2021

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