Pascoe v Turner [1979] 1 WLR 431

Key point

  • Oppressive conduct by the defendant can be taken into account in determining the form of relief


  • A woman (C) who had been promised that the house which she was living in was hers by her former partner (D) spent a quarter of her wealth on maintaining and improving the property, although this was only a few hundred pounds

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • Proprietary estoppel arose; relief was in the form of a transfer of the property to C

Cumming-Bruce LJ

Proprietary estoppel

  • The detriment need not consist of the expenditure of money or other quantifiable financial detriment, as long as it is substantial
  • The court must decide what is the minimum equity to do justice to her detrimental reliance

Current case

  • D’s conduct suggests that the only way is to perfect the imperfect gift
  • In this case there are 2 alternatives: a lifetime licence or a transfer of the property
  • C can only be protected from the man’s harassing behaviour by requiring him to perfect his gift and convey the land to her
  • The award of some lesser right such as a lifetime licence would not have been enough to achieve this
    • C, the man, had sought to remove her through any legal means, in an immoral manner
    • A licence cannot be registered as a land charge so that she may be ousted by a purchaser for value without notice (note that this is no longer accurate)
Proprietary estoppel cases
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