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Midland Bank v Cooke

[1997] Conv 66

Case summary last updated at 08/01/2020 14:58 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Midland Bank v Cooke

A home had been bought in D’s name but P contributed 6.5% of the purchase price. Although it had never been discussed by the parties, the court inferred an implied an agreement that P should have a share in the house, though that agreement was silent as to quantum (Gardner: unsurprising since there was never any agreement, whether express or implied). Therefore the court imputed an intention that the house should be split 50:50 on “general equitable principles. 
Waite LJ: “When the court is proceeding, in cases like the present where the partner without legal title has successfully asserted an equitable interest through direct contribution, to determine (in the absence of express evidence of intention) what proportions the parties must be assumed to have intended for their beneficial ownership, the duty of the judge is to undertake a survey of the whole course of dealing between the parties relevant to their ownership and occupation of the property and their sharing of its burdens and advantages. That scrutiny will not confine itself to the limited range of acts of direct contribution of the sort that are needed to found a beneficial interest in the first place. It will take into consideration all conduct which throws light on the question what shares were intended. Only if that search proves inconclusive does the court fall back on the maxim that 'equality is equity'.” 

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