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Burgess v Rawnsley

[1976] CLJ 20

Case summary last updated at 08/01/2020 15:40 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Burgess v Rawnsley

H and D bought a house in their joint names each paying half. D changed her mind about moving in, and sgreed to sell her share to H but subsequently refused to effect the sale. H died and P (administrator) claimed that the joint tenancy had been severed by the agreement to sell. D denied this and claimed title to the house due to the principle of survivorship. CA held that the agreement to sell had severed the joint tenancy even though the sale was not specifically enforceable. 
Lord Denning MR: Nielson-Jones v Fadden was wrongly decided: There was a “course of dealing sufficient to sever the joint tenancy. They entered into negotiations that the property should be sold. Each received £200 out of the deposit paid by the purchaser. That was sufficient. Furthermore there was disclosed in correspondence a declaration by the husband that he wished to sever the joint tenancy: and this was made clear by the wife. That too was sufficient.” 
Sir John Pennycuick: “The policy of the law as it stands today, having regard particularly to section 36 (2), is to facilitate severance at the instance of either party” 

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