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Eves v Eves [1975] 1 WLR 1338

Home in man’s sole name; whether constructive trust of beneficial interest in woman’s favour

Facts

The parties were unmarried and began living together in 1968. Following the birth of their first child, a home was purchased which was registered in the man’s sole name. He told his partner he would have put the house in joint names had she been over 21. They had a second child before the man left in 1972 and married another woman. The woman sought a declaration that she held a beneficial interest in the home.

Issues

The woman contended the house had been jointly acquired, and was intended to be their family home. She claimed her partner had led her to believe she was entitled to an interest in it when he told her he would have placed it in joint names but for her age, and he suggested he would put it into joint names in the future. In reliance on this, she carried out extensive improvements to the property including decorating and demolition work. Her contributions were, she claimed, sufficient to establish a beneficial interest in the property. The man stated he had deliberately made an excuse not to put the home into joint names because he never intended it to be so held. There was simply no intention that she should acquire an interest.

Held

The woman was held to have a quarter interest in the home. A trust of the beneficial interest had arisen because the man had led his partner to believe she held a beneficial interest, and the house had been bought and renovated for their joint benefit. The discussions the parties had regarding the title to the property were sufficient for the court to infer an intention to share the interest.


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