Grant v Edwards [1986] Ch 638

Key point

  • A specious excuse to not register the name of one’s partner is evidence of common intention that she should have beneficial share in the property


  • A couple lived together with their children from separate marriages
  • The man (D) told the woman (C) that her name was not included on the title because it would cause her prejudice in the divorce proceedings against her husband
  • D paid for the mortgage while C made substantial contribution to household expenses
  • When the parties separated C claimed a beneficial interest in the house

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • C had 50% beneficial interest

Nourse LJ

Constructive trust: p. 646 – 647

  • Where property was purchased in single name, and the claimant did not contribute financially such that a presumed resulting trust applies, equity will infer a trust if
    • There was common intention that both should have beneficial interest in the property and
    • The claimant acted upon that intention

Application to current case: p. 649

  • The excuse by D raised the clear inference of a common intention that C should have an interest in the house
  • C’s contribution to the general household expenses had been in excess of what is normally expected, without that substantial contribution the D’s means would not have been sufficient to keep up the mortgage payments
  • In making those indirect payments towards the house, C had acted to her detriment and she could not be expected to have done so without beneficial interest
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