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PROPERTY: Young v Lauretani, [2007] EWHC 1244 (Ch)

Date:25 JUN 2007

(Chancery Division; Lindsay J; 23 May 2007)

The Trust Deed setting out the interests of the cohabitants in the quasi-matrimonial home had not included everything agreed between the parties that might affect the property and its acquisition; the woman had required certain matters beyond a mere declaration of trust to be carried into the deed, whereas the man had not done so. The couple's oral agreement as to the woman's responsibilities in relation to the property was enforceable, notwithstanding the lack of formality. Although in many ways it was prudent to await the sale of the property in dispute before equitable accounting was dealt with, in a case in which both parties wished to be able to buy the property in question, and in which without equitable accounting neither side knew how much they could afford to pay, there was a good argument for not awaiting the sale before giving an outline indication of how the proceeds of sale were to be divided. The court set out the capital adjustments which had to be made to reflect the agreements between the parties and certain actions of the parties, but noted that when the parties had been living together, in the absence of clear and express agreement otherwise, it was not correct in respect of the period when the couple were together, to try to assess the relative weights, for example, of mortgage outgoings borne by one and household expenses by the other; all could be taken to have been thrown into the one indivisible pot not to be sought to be divided. Such expenditure was not to be subjected to the sort of analysis that might have been appropriate between commercial parties.