Disclaimer: This work was produced by one of our expert legal writers, as a learning aid to help law students with their studies.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of LawTeacher.net. Any information contained in this case summary does not constitute legal advice and should be treated as educational content only.

Layton v Martin [1986]

294 words (1 pages) Case Summary

17th Jun 2019 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Layton v Martin [1986] 2 FLR 227



The defendant represented to the claimant (his mistress) that she would have ‘financial security’ after his death. After the defendant died without leaving any property to the claimant in his will, the claimant claimed that she had a proprietary interest in the defendant’s land, arising out of his assurances that she would be supported, due to proprietary estoppel.


A person will have an inchoate ‘equity’ in land if they can establish proprietary estoppel. Establishing this requires proof that the land-owner made an unequivocal representation that they had a proprietary interest, which they relied on to their detriment such that it would be unconscionable to renege on the representation. The inchoate equity that results from proprietary estoppel can be satisfied by the court using whatever remedy would do the minimum amount of justice in the case.

The issue in this case was the degree of certainty which was required as to the proprietary interest the defendant believed herself to be entitled to.


The court held in the defendant’s favour: there was no proprietary estoppel.

The court held that to be sufficiently clear, the representation must relate to (though it need not explicitly name with legal precision) a specific type of interest in property (such as a lease, ownership and so on). A general representation that the claimant will be supported in the abstract does not relate to a specific proprietary interest, and so is not capable of giving rise to a proprietary estoppel.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

Related Content

Jurisdictions / Tags

Content relating to: "UK Law"

UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

Related Articles