Proprietary estoppel used by Court of Appeal in landmark case

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The Court of Appeal in the UK upholds decision awarding a former partner 10% interest in her partner’s property using proprietary estoppel.
The case was an appeal against a decision stating that a residential property was held on trust under the terms of which the first £33,522 in equity is held for Ms Liden, the Respondent on the basis of proprietary estoppel, the first time this equity has been used by UK courts in many years. Equitable maxims used to be a popular remedy however in recent years many Judges have found them to be old fashioned or out dated.

The appellant, Mr Burton, argued that there was no proper or sufficient evidential basis for a finding of proprietary estoppel. The parties lived together in a rented property in Sweden for 6 years and for a further residential property in the UK in Mr Burton’s sole name between 2001 and 2013.

Mr Burton’s appeal was dismissed on the basis that the Judge had correctly applied the law on the facts and that he had not made a mistake in his use of awarding the equity to Ms Liden. It was stated that the Judge had gone beyond his duty to maintain justice between both parties from the case.