Archive for the ‘Licence coupled with an equity’ Category

Promissory estoppel and permanent licence to occupy family home

December 15, 2011

In Maharaj v Chand ([1986] 3 W.L.R. 440, PC) M and C were an unmarried co-habiting couple. M applied to the Fiji Housing Authority for a lease of land under a scheme intended to make land available for married couples and built a house on it. M told C that this was to be the family home. In reliance on this she gave up her flat and used her savings to meet household needs. M abandoned C and sought vacant possession of the property. C argued that M had given her a permanent licence of the property and that he was estopped from seeking vacant possession. M argued that such a licence would be illegal since it would be a dealing with the property without the consent required by s.12 of the Native Land Trust Act. The Privy Council found for C. She could rely on promissory estoppel to defend herself from the possession proceedings. While a constructive trust would have contravened section 12, the purely personal licence arrangement did not.

Michael Lower


Licence coupled with an equity

October 25, 2011

In Inwards v Baker ([1965] 2 QB 29, CA (Eng)) a father told his son that the son could build a house for himself on the father’s land. There was never any commitment (contractual or otherwise) to transfer the land to the son. But the father had led the son to believe that he would be able to live in the house on his father’s land for the rest of his life. The son did all the work involved in building the house and he shared the cost with his father. The father died and the trustees of the will sought to recover possession of the house from the son. They failed. The Court of Appeal pointed to Dillwyn v Llewellyn Ramsden v Dyson  and Plimmer v Wellington. The elements of proprietary estoppel were present. The son had been encouraged to believe that he could live in the bungalow for the rest of his life. He had an equity that (according to Lord Denning MR) would be binding on third parties with notice of it. Lord Denning said that the son had a licence coupled with an equity.