Proprietary Estoppel - Complex Issues for Contentious Probate Practitioners
In recent years, there has been a spate of relatively high value and fiercely contested proprietary estoppel claims which have resulted in reported decisions in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
One of these, the case of Guest v Guest, has now reached the Supreme Court, where the arguments have tackled the fundamental question of how the courts should devise a remedy once satisfied the claim should succeed at least to some extent.
Judgment on that appeal is awaited.
Aside from the reported cases, claims based on proprietary estoppel are now commonly intimated in disputes between family members where a house or farm is concerned. The great flexibility of the equitable principles of proprietary estoppel means it can be difficult accurately to gauge the merits of any individual case, especially at an early stage.
To do so, it is important not only to understand the basic ingredients of a proprietary estoppel claim, but also to appreciate the lessons from the many reported cases about how a claim might fare if taken all the way to trial.
This new virtual classroom seminar is aimed at a relatively advanced level, focusing on the key details of cases in recent years to try to explain what made for success or failure.
Practical considerations for litigating a proprietary estoppel claim effectively will also be discussed.
The primary focus will be on the kinds of claim where the claimant is asserting an (increased) ownership interest in a house or farm, but other circumstances in which proprietary estoppel may be relevant will be covered more briefly.
What You Will Learn
This live and interactive session will cover the following:
- The kinds of circumstances where a possible claim in proprietary estoppel should be considered or might be threatened
- A brief recap of the basic ingredients of proprietary estoppel as set out in Thorner v Major and summarised in Davies v Davies, and how the boundaries of proprietary estoppel have been pushed
- The relevance to proprietary estoppel claims of formality requirements regarding land, in the light of Wills v Sowray and others
- The contrast between ‘bargain’ cases and others, and the idea that early indications may crystallise into sufficiently unequivocal assurances that they become binding
- The necessity of showing detrimental reliance, in particular the idea of positioning one’s whole life in reliance on assurances as appears from Suggitt v Suggitt and other cases, and the need to take into account countervailing benefits
- Considerations for testing the strength of the evidence, particularly following the introduction of Practice Direction 57AC - what makes for a persuasive claimant? Lessons from Dawson v Dawson and Morton v Morton in particular
- The impact of written agreements between the parties, in the light of Horsford v Horsford and Morton v Morton
- The contrast between bargain cases where the dispute came to a head prematurely and those where the bargain was seen through to the end, and whether or not a claimant can justify refusing to accept less than they expected, as in Habberfield v Habberfield
- Strategic considerations for how to defend a claim with some substance to it - lessons from Habberfield v Habberfield and Guest v Guest
- The impact of third-party involvement, in the light of Habberfield v Habberfield, Morton v Morton and Henry v Henry
- Practical considerations for working out what remedy should be sought, in the light of Moore v Moore
Recording of live sessions: Soon after the Learn Live session has taken place you will be able to go back and access the recording - should you wish to revisit the material discussed.