(Chancery Division; Mr Stephen Smith QC sitting as a Deputy Judge of the Chancery Division; 7 January 2009)
The issue in the case was the beneficial ownership of the matrimonial home. The couple had lived in the property under a tenancy. After the divorce the wife, who had obtained an exclusion order against the husband, asserted that the tenancy was a sham and that in fact the husband was the beneficial owner of the property, but that he had concealed his ownership in order to claim housing benefit. The registered owner, the youngest of husband's three brothers, accepted that he was not the beneficial owner, but claimed that the middle brother was the owner, not the husband. The middle and youngest brothers sought possession against the wife, supported by the husband.
The husband could never have afforded to buy the property; the property belonged to middle brother, who had supplied the funds with which it had been purchased. The middle brother was entitled to a declaration that he was the sole beneficial owner of the property, and to a possession order, postponed for 6 weeks.