• In the case of Eves v Eves 1975 1 wlr 1338 Eves v Eves 1975 1 wlr 1338 it establishes that an objective intention to grant a beneficial interest in a family home can be inferred from false excuses despite opposing subjective intent (lying)

Facts of the Case

  • The parties, an unmarried couple, began living with each other in 1968, after the conception and birth of their first child, a home was purchased and registered solely under the name of the man (Mr. Eves), the defendant (D). Mr. Eves claimed that had the claimant (C), Mrs. Eves been over 21, at the time of purchase, he would have put the house in joint names.
  • Before their eventual split and the man’s departure from the house and marriage to another woman in 1972, the couple had a second child. Although the claimant, the woman, did not directly contribute to purchasing the property, she did carry out substantial work on the property. Thus, the woman, Mrs. Eves sought a declaration that she held an interest in the home.

Issues in Eves v Eves 1975 1 wlr 1338

  • The claimant relied on the words of her partner, at the time, which she claimed led her to believe she was entitled to an interest in the property and that the defendant suggested he would put the property in both their names in the future.
  • It is then in reliance of the latter that the claimant carried out extensive improvements to the property (i.e. Decorating and demolition work), the claimant claimed that her contributions were enough to establish her interest in the property
  • Alternatively, the defendant claimed he deliberately made an excuse (that she wasn’t over 21), so that he would not have to register the house jointly, because he never intended for this. He (the defendant) simply had no intention for the claimant to acquire interest.

Held by Court

  • The claimant, Mrs. Eves, was entitled to ¼ (25%) of the beneficial interest under a constructive trust

Lord Denning

  • The principle of constructive or resulting trust
  • Whenever two parties via joint effort, acquire property to be used for their mutual benefit, courts may impose or impute a constructive or resulting trust; Under which the legal owner is bound to hold the property on trust for them both.
    • – Applicable here –
  • Here a trust of the beneficial interest had risen due to the defendant leading his partner, the claimant, into believing she had a beneficial interest, and the house being bought and renovated for their benefit. This was sufficient for the court to infer an intention to share the interest.