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Financial contributions in family matters

The Court of Appeal has ruled that financial contributions made "towards the house" can give rise to an enforceable interest in the property

In the case of Liden v Burton [2016] the Court of Appeal has held that if oral promises are made stating that financial contributions made by one party to the other "towards the house" then providing those promises are acted upon they are capable of being sufficient for an interest in the property to arise by the “doctrine of proprietary estoppel”.

On the facts of this particular case the court decided that it was reasonable for the respondent to understand that the payments she made would result in a share in the property and she had relied upon the assurances to her detriment by making the payments. The court was satisfied that if she had been told that the payments were not towards an interest in the property she would not have made them and would instead have invested her money elsewhere.

In taking this stance the Court of Appeal followed the guidance already set out in the case of Thorner v Majors and others [2009], in which the House of Lords had considered the elements necessary to establish a proprietary estoppel.

For assistance with any family matter, please contact our Family team on 01905 723561 or e-mail

Added: 18 Apr 2016 12:23

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