Common intention constructive trust: evidence of an agreement

A common intention constructive trust can arise when there has been an agreement that the claimant is to have a beneficial interest and where, wholly or partly as a result of that agreement, the claimant has suffered some detriment.

In Grant v Edwards ([1986] Ch 638, CA (Eng)) property had been conveyed into the joint names of Edwards and his brother. The property was intended as a home for Grant and Edwards (who were co-habiting) and their family. Edwards told Grant that her name was not on the conveyance because that might prejudice her matrimonial proceedings. This excuse  was found to be evidence of an express agreement that she was to have a beneficial interest in the property. Edwards paid the deposit and mortgage instalments but Grant covered all other expenses and this allowed Edwards to concentrate on the mortgage instalments. The Court of Appeal found that there was a link between Grant’s financial contributions and the agreement that she was to have a share. Thus, she had a beneficial interest.

Michael Lower

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