Green v Green [2003] UKPC 39

Trusts – Constructive Trusts – Beneficial Interest – Common Intention - Property


The complainant and defendant met when they were both married to another partner. In 1973, they formed a relationship and later had two children. Although they lived together as man and wife, they did not legally marry until 1984, as their previous divorces had delayed their marriage. The case involved a dispute over their seven properties in Jamaica. The title of five of the properties was solely in the defendant’s name. One property was registered in their joint names with no title produced for the remaining property. The complainant had worked as a full-time supervisor throughout the relationship, while the defendant ran the businesses and dealt with their finances. There was never any express agreement regarding the beneficial interest in the property. In 1987, the couple parted ways and in 1990, the defendant moved to the US.


The appeal to the Privy Council concerned whether the complainant had beneficial interest in equity to the property. It had been held that the complainant had one third interest in one of the properties in Jamaica, but not in the remaining six properties. There was an appeal to the Privy Council on this issue.


The appeal was allowed and the original judgement was restored, which granted the complainant one third beneficial interest in the all of the properties in Jamaica and two thirds to the defendant. Lord Hope stated that there had to be a detrimental reliance on the common intention in order for there to be an assumption of beneficial interest.