(Court of Appeal, Gloster, David Richards LJJ, Sir Stephen Tomlinson, 24 February 2017)
Property – Beneficial interest – Property owned by father and his wife – Woman lived in it and paid all outgoings
The father purchased a property in 1988 which was held in the joint names of the father and his second wife. The purchase money was provided by way of a loan from a French bank which was discharged and secured upon the father and his wife’s jointly owned house in France. The woman had lived in the property and paid all outgoings such as council tax since it was purchased while the father only ever visited and his second wife had never visited the property.
In 2010 the father died intestate in France. His wife commenced possession proceedings in respect of the English property. The woman defended and counterclaimed asserting that she was the sole beneficial owner.
At trial the judge held that the father’s wife held the property on trust for the woman and herself and directed that the extent of their beneficial interests would be dealt with at a further hearing.
The woman appealed.The appeal was dismissed. The judge made a finding as to the actual intention of the parties which was open to him and left no room to impute an intention. The approach in Jones v Kernott  UKSC 53 was not appropriate in the circumstances of this case. There was nothing in the relationship between the wife and the woman to indicate that the former would have intended to make a gift to the latter.