This was an appeal by Mr Thompson (“Mr T”) against the court’s declaration of his and Ms Hurst’s (“Ms H”) respective beneficial interest in a property in Ms H’s sole name.  That appeal was dismissed.

The property in question was owned in Ms H’s sole name subject to a mortgage in her sole name.  She had purchased it following having lived in the property as a tenant of the local authority, with a discount under the right to buy scheme.  The couple never married and kept their finances completely separate.

Mr T had lived at the property with Ms H as a couple for some six years prior to her having purchased the property in her sole name.  The parties had two children and agreed that the property was intended to be a home for the children.

Mr T was in and out of work, although he did contribute to housekeeping, the children and treats and so on when he was employed.  However it was Ms Hurst’s income that paid for the property, the mortgage and certain utilities.

In the first instance the District Judge gave Mr T a 10% interest in the property even though he was never named on the title to the property.  Ms H was declared to have a 90% interest in the property.  The District Judge found that there was a common intention that Mr T would have an interest in the property, but there was no common intention on the amount of his interest.

Mr T appealed the District Judge’s decision and the matter went to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Mr T’s appeal, finding that one could not assume that the parties would have had joint interests in a property just because one person was not named due to an external reason (in this case Mr T was unemployed for the six months leading up to the application for a mortgage and so could not be named).

Although the Court of Appeal questioned how the first court could have found that Mr T had interest at all, there was no appeal from Ms H on this issue.

As a result once the District Judge had reached the conclusion there was a common intention that Mr T was to have a beneficial interest, the Court of Appeal found that the District Judge had carried out her task of determining what would be fair (having regard to the whole course of dealing between the parties in relation to the property) in a careful and exemplary fashion.

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