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Insolvency Law

Expert guidance on all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency

07 DEC 2011

Jones v Kernott [2011] UKSC 53 – Joint ownership, cohabitants and imputed intentions

With much fanfare in the national press the Supreme Court has finally delivered its much anticipated judgment in Jones v Kernott some 6 months after the appeal was argued. Some hopelessly optimistic commentators had suggested that the Supreme Court would take the opportunity to change the landscape for unmarried cohabitants and fill the void that has been left by the government’s failure to implement the Law Commission’s proposals for reform (indeed, last month the government confirmed that it would not implement those proposals). Others had harboured the hope that clarity would be provided by addressing the inconsistencies and uncertainties generated by a vast body of often conflicting Court of Appeal decisions and four inconsistent House of Lords’ pronouncements (ie Pettitt v Pettitt [1970] AC 777, Gissing v Gissing [1971] AC 886, Lloyds Bank v Rosset [1991] 1 AC 107 and Stack v Dowden [2007] UKHL 17, [2007] BPIR 913). Arguably Jones v Kernott fails to deliver. The headline in The Times report on 10 November 2011 wasn’t far short of the mark: ‘Unmarried couples “need clarity” after Supreme Court rules on house ownership’.


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