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The House of Lords Lynn

The question then arises what type of conduct will be sufficient to infer a common intention to share ownership Lord Bridge appears to suggest in Lloyds that indirect contributions are insufficient to found a beneficial interest under an implied constructive trust too:
"In this situation direct contributions to the purchase price by the partner who is not the legal owner, whether initially or by payment of mortgage instalments, will readily justify the inference necessary for the creation of a constructive trust. But, as I read the authorities, it is at least extremely doubtful whether anything less will do."
It is not clear to which cases Lord Bridges is referring in his final sentence. There are high profile cases where it is argued that indirect contributions should be regarded as evidence that an agreement for a beneficial interest should be inferred: Gissing v Gissing [1971] AC 886 and Burns v Burns [1984] 1 Ch 317. The line of reasoning in these cases suggest that it is not just the making of the indirect contribution; there must also have been the aim of assisting in the purchase of the property and/or that without that contribution the mortgage would not have been paid.
"Contributions are not limited to those made directly in part payment of the price of the property or to those made at the time when the property is conveyed into the name of one of the spouses. For instance there can be a contribution if by arrangement between the spouses one of them by payment of the household expenses enables the other to pay the mortgage instalments."

Given the importance of precedent in English law it is submitted that Lord Bridge's statement could not have been meant to overrule such authorities. Clearly there is established authority that in appropriate circumstances the court may infer that the parties' common intention was to give the claimant an interest by way of indirect contributions.

We are told that 'Mike would not have been able to meet the mortgage payments out of his own salary' had Lynn not worked part-time to discharge the other household expenses. There is clearly a link between the mortgage payments and the expenses undertaken by Lynn. It is therefore submitted that Le Foe v Le Foe [2001] 2 FLR 970 is consistent with Lord Bridge's speech in Lloyds and in fact is a direct application of precedent in this area. As Mr Mostyn QC himself said:

"I believe that a fair reading of [May LJ's judgement in Burns v. Burns [1984] FLR 216] is that such a state of affairs should suffice to enable the necessary inference to be drawn. Otherwise these cases would be decided by reference to mere accidents of fortune, being the arbitrary allocation of financial responsibility as between the parties."

Le Foe is an illustration of such contributions and their effects, where the court construed the Lloyds' principles and concluded that the claimant will be entitled to a beneficial interest by way of indirect contributions in exceptional circumstances. It is therefore submitted that at first instance and appeal Lord Bridge's remarks have been misinterpreted and that Lynn does indeed have a beneficial interest in the property via an implied constructive trust.

Waite LJ's judgement in Midland Bank plc v Cooke [1995] 4 All ER 562 goes to quantification of the ...Show more


In order to successfully appeal to the House of Lords Lynn will need to establish that there is a point of law which their Lordships are required to clarify. We would argue that the High Court and Court of Appeal erred on the first point in their judgement with regard to the status of Lynn's indirect contribution to the acquisition of the property…
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