Constructive trust: finding the necessary agreement in a deceitful excuse

Where property was put into the sole name of D, D’s deceitful excuse for not putting the property into joint names can be evidence of the agreement that P was to have a beneficial interest.

In Eves v Eves ([1975] 1 WLR 1338, CA (Eng)) P and D started to live together. D made all the payments and the property was in his sole name. D told P that title could not be in joint names as she was under 21. At trial, he admitted that this was just an excuse. The house was in a very run-down condition when it was bought and P did a lot of the heavy work needed. The Court of Appeal held that there was a common intention constructive trust. D’s  excuse for not putting the property into joint names was evidence that they had an agreement that each was to have a beneficial interest. The heavy work provided the necessary detrimental reliance making it unconscionable for D to go back on the agreement.

Michael Lower

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