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(Chancery Division; HHJ Purle QC sitting as a judge of the High Court; 19 March 2010)
A property case involving a cohabiting couple. The man and woman had cohabited for significant period and at one stage were engaged. The issue was whether the woman had a beneficial interest in the property. The woman had made no financial contribution to the property's purchase price but claimed to have made a contribution to the renovation works and to the man's business. The woman had made two loans (£7,500 and £25,000) and the man had subsequently paid the woman £35,000 following separation as ‘maintenance'. There was never any representation to the woman that she would have a share of the property.
The man had offered to pay the woman £85,000 with costs up to the date of acceptance. The this offer was better than the woman achieved, bringing CPR 36.14(1)(a) into play. However, in this case it would be unjust to require the woman to pay the costs and interest from date of the man's offer. The significant counterclaims by the man had failed. Further his conduct had been disgraceful in certain important respects, spyware had been used and the woman was portrayed as mentally unstable. No order as to costs.
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