Bedson v Bedson [1965] 2 QB 666

Key point

  • While a couple remains married a sale cannot be ordered even if they are living separately (c.f. Jones v Challenger)


  • The husband (D) bought a property that consisted of a draper’s shop on the ground floor and home above
  • The property was conveyed into the joint names of D and his wife (C) as joint tenants on trust for sale with an express declaration that they are tenants in common beneficially
  • C left the home and applied under s17 Married Women’s Property Act 1882 for an order that the property be sold and the proceeds divided between herself and her husband in equal shares (The words under s17 MWPA 1882 are the same as s30 LPA 1925)

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • Sale was not to be ordered
  • The wife was barred from dealing with her share of the property while the husband is under occupation
  • The husband shall pay occupation rent to the wife

Denning LJ

  • If C were allowed to sell the home the two subsisting collateral purposes of the trust would be destroyed:
    1. Providing a matrimonial home as it would destroy the home and remove any chance of the family coming together again and
    2. Enabling the business by which D provides for himself and the children

Russell LJ dissenting

  • There is no rule in law or equity that the wife cannot sell her beneficial interest or sever a joint tenancy, the court has no jurisdiction to restrain a wife from disposing of her own property