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(Chancery Division; Bernard Livesey QC sitting as a deputy judge of the HC; 30 July 2010)
A cohabiting same-sex couple (one an MP, the other a doctor) each bought a flat in the same building. The couple then renovated flats to create single living space with two separate titles.
After the MP lost libel proceedings in respect of his relationship with the doctor, he transferred his flat to the doctor to ensure it did not have to be sold. When relationship ended some years later, the MP claimed the doctor held the property by way of a constructive/resulting trust for him. The doctor argued that the MP sold him the whole of his legal and beneficial interest in the property.
Held that the property was held by the MP and the doctor as legal and beneficial joint tenants: that the property was held subject to a trust that the MP was responsible for all outgoings and entitled to the income from the property during his lifetime. The doctor was entitled to sever the beneficial joint tenancy and he did so in June 2009, the effect of this was they held the legal interest in the property as legal joint tenants but the beneficial interest as tenants in common but subject to the same trust as before, which will not have been affected by the Notice of Severance.
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