Oxley v Hiscock [2005] Fam. 211 

Land Law – Constructive Trust – Beneficial Interest – Common Intention - Property


Ms Oxley and Mr Hiscock were in a relationship, but not married. They decided to purchase a house together, which was in the name of the defendant. There was no express mention about shares of the property. The complainant contributed 28 per cent of the property payment and the defendant paid 48 per cent. Both Ms Oxley and Mr Hiscock contributed to the upkeep of the house and maintenance, as well as paying off the mortgage.


The complainant argued that she was entitled to 50 per cent of the proceedings from the property. The issue was whether she had a beneficial interest in the house and could claim a percentage of the sale.


The court held that Ms Oxley was entitled to a 40 per cent share of the property based on the facts. Lord Justice Chadwick stated that there were two questions to decide the issue in this case, whether there was a constructive trust and how it would be quantified. It was found that Ms Oxley did have a beneficial interest in the property and although her share was not equal to the initial cash contributions, the other payments she made were to be taken into account. Lord Justice Chadwick stated that the court would be fair and have ‘regard to the whole course of dealing between them in relation to the property’ [69]. Thus, in order to make quantification, the shares should be assessed at the time of the sale, not when it was purchased.