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Epps v Esso Petroleum Co Ltd

[1973] 1 WLR 1071

Case summary last updated at 09/01/2020 20:29 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Epps v Esso Petroleum Co Ltd

A had a house, garage and strip in between, with a fence between the house and the strip. A sold the house and strip to B and the garage and strip to C (double conveyancing). Registration was made compulsory and C registered the garage and strip, unlike B who did not register the strip. B sold to Epps and C sold to Esso. Epps applied to be registered as owner of the strip (i.e. rectification)and HL refused. 
 
Lord Templemann: Rectification can only occur if (1) the registered party was not in possession, (2) the party with the equitable interest (i.e. contractual right to the thing but failure to register) was in actual possession, and (3) whether it would be unjust not to rectify (treated here as the “knew/ought to have known from careful investigation” of P’s right). Here, D did not/ought not to have known of the mistake in the double conveyancy and P was not in “actual possession” (though Lord Bridge determines this by how often P’s car was parked in the strip and claims that because of the size of the strip (large) compared to the size of the car (small) there was no actual occupation- bizarre). 

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