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Morris v Morris

[2008] EWCA Civ 257

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

Judgement for the case Morris v Morris

Under the disposition of a will, H's mother (M) became the sole legal owner of the family farm. Consequently, H and M entered into a joint partnership for the purposes of running the farm and a joint tenancy in respect of the farmhouse that stood upon it. Later, H met and married W and began living with her in the farmhouse. W did lots of unpaid work making the farm far more profitable and provided capital for projects. Following the dissolution of the relationship between H and W, W moved out of the farmhouse and instigated a claim for a beneficial interest in the farm premises. CA held that she did not have a beneficial interest in the property and that conduct of the parties did not necessarily prove the fact of beneficial interest. Here, the financial and other contributions W made were offset by money and land she was allowed to use to set up a horse-riding business of which she is sole owner. Also she never discussed a beneficial interest with H nor with M, so that there could be no interest. This case gives weight to the idea that the presumption that “equity follows law”
Peter Gibson LJ: For the common intention constructive trust to arise there must be a real common intention (whether expressed or implied). It cannot just be ‘imputed’ i.e. the court can’t just ‘pretend’ that the intention existed in the interests of justice. He therefore confines Baroness Hale’s statements in Stack to determining whether the presumption of equal shares is overturned, and does NOT affect when the trust arises in the first place. He therefore tries to bring the law back into line with Gissing 

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