Abbey National v Cann
This is a 1990 case. It is about equitable interest. This is about what constitutes actual occupation. The court held that actual occupation entails a considerable degree of permanence. The bank’s right over the property in a repossession case defeated the equitable interest of the person occupying the property.
George Cann bought a house. His mother Daisy Cann contributed some money to the purchase. Then George Cann bought another house and used a loan from Abbey National to do so. George Cann used the first house as security for the loan that enabled him to buy the second property.
Mr Cann later failed to keep up payments. Abbey National sought repossession of the first home. Daisy Cann was living there. She had just moved in carpets – 35 minutes before the deal was completed. Daisy argued her equitable rights entitled her to stay in the house. She had prior possession. There was a scintilla temporis between her moving in and the deal being sealed. The court held this scintilla temporis – sliver of time – was too trifling to bother with. It was de minimis.
Daisy was turfed out. The bank got the house. This has been castigated as favouring the mighty voer the puny
Earl of Oxford’s case.
Equitable principles take priority over law. This was established in 1617.
Magdalen College Cambridge bought land. They sold it to Elizabeth I. She then sold it to one Spinola being a Genoese.
A court laid down that a college could not sell land to people for more than 21 years. People had assumed that purchasing land from the queen meant that the purchaser owned it totally.
John Warren ended up leasing the house. Warren argued that statute was on his side. The statute said that the college’s land was there to fund education and could not be leased for more then 21 years or three lifetimes – whichever expired sooner.
Warren was not entitled to eject Smith.
The college had sold the land to Smith.
Lord Ellesmere was the judge. This case was also heard by the King. He confirmed that equity would defeat common law. A statute had said that the college’s land could not be leases for more than 21 years but this was defeated.
Seisin. This is now called freehold. It is from the old French for ”to set”. This is as close to absolute ownership of land as one can get in the common law system.
Pettitt v Pettitt 1970
Lord Diplock heard this case.
Husband and wife lived in a property. The wife had paid for it. She left her husband. The husband said he had carried out many improvements to the property. He wanted to stay in the house.
This is about a spouse’s equitable interest in the matrimonial home.
The judge said it would be a mistake to apply the law of an earlier epoch to this one. So who won?
I think he was saying that one has to look at intention. The husband had informally acquired an equitable interest in the house
European Convention on Human Rights Article 8 says that one has the right to family life.
Banks can repossess homes of people who default on loans. The courts will take into consideration the welfare of children living in the home. The court might say the bank can seize the home but not until a certain period of time has elapsed. This will allow the children to grow up a bit more and give the family time to find a new place to live.
Property rights (rights in rem) bind third parties.
Personal rights (Rights in personam) do not bind third parties.
Hill v Tupper is an 1863 case.
Basingstoke Canal Co gave Mr Hill an exclusive right to hire out boats to people on the canal
Tupper started a business doing the same thing on the canal.
Hill brought a lawsuit to stop Tupper doing this.
Pollock CB found in favour of Tupper. It was up to Basingstoke Canal Co to stop Tupper. Hill could not do so.
There was no easement here. An easement is for the benefit of land. Hill was trying to benefit his business.
”A new incorporeal hereditament cannot be created at the pleasure of the plaintiff.”
People cannot create property rights willy nilly. This is numerous clausus.
This is what Lord Wilberforce said about admitting new proprietary rights.
Before a right or an interest can be admitted into the category of property, or of a right affecting property, it must be definable, identifiable by third parties, capable in its nature of assumption by third parties, and have some degree of permanence or stability.
William’s and Glyn’s Bank v Boland.
There was a house owned by MR Boland. It was security for a loan. He failed to pay up and the bank moved to possess the house.
Mrs Boland did not know that her husband had put the house up as collateral for the loan. She was not on the title deeds. She had made financial contributions to the house. The court of Appeal and the House of Lords held that she did occupy the house and had an interest in it. This bound the bank and she was allowed to stay in the house.
This was a sea change in English law. Templeman – at first instance – had said that the woman occupied the house only through her husband and this had no legal value. Lord Wilberforce rejected the earlier view that a wife was a mere shadow of her husband and her being in the house was not occupation. Lord Wilberforce said that the 1925 Land Registration Act must be interpreted literally. She lived in the house so she occupied it. She was held to have an overriding interest in the house.
Chhokkar v Chhokkar. 1984
This couple owned a house. The husband bought it. The wife contributed almost a third of the money.
The marriage broke down.
The man tried to sell the house to his friend Palmer. Palmer signed the purchase deed dated 19 February a date when the wife was giving birth in hospital. The idea was so that the wife could not prevent the sale.
The house was sold at a below market price to Palmer – 12 000. He immediately put it on the market for 18 000.
The wife came out of hospital and tried t get back into the house. The locks had been changed. She managed to break in. Palmer assaulted her and threw her out.
The court found for the wife. She was held to be in occupation of the house even though she was in hospital for a while.
Palmer had been a sharpster and so had the husband. The wife had also perjured herself in the witness box. But she was held to have an equitable interest in the house.