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Legal and beneficial ownership

Application of the Jones v Kernott test

Lack of child support

Barnes v Phillips
[2015] EWCA Civ 1056


In a claim following dissolution of relationship of the parties, the issue was whether, following a remortgage, the proceeds of which were used by the appellant for his business purposes, there was an agreement to vary the beneficial ownership in the property. The Court of Appeal considered the correct application of the Jones v Kernott test.


The parties lived together from 1989 until 2005. They had two children. The property that was the subject of the dispute was purchased and registered in both their names as joint tenants. They used their savings and obtained a mortgage. Both parties worked, although the respondent worked part time when the children were small. They both contributed to major works to the property.

During the course of the relationship the appellant (M) purchased three further properties which he said were a business investment for himself. They were registered in his sole name. In early 2005, M was in financial difficulty and told the respondent (W) that she and the children would be out on the street unless she agreed to remortgage the property. She agreed and the property was remortgaged. The funds went to discharge the first mortgage and pay back M’s debts, although he stated at trial that he had not in fact paid of two of the debts. There was almost nothing of the mortgage funds remaining.

M moved out of the property in 2005 shortly after the remortgage. He continued to contribute to mortgage repayments for about eight months. Between 2005 and 2008 M paid approximately £22,000 and W approximately £12,500 in repayments. M paid £250 per month for the children but not on a regular basis. From 2008 W had financial responsibility for the children and paid all the mortgage instalments. She also paid for all the upkeep of the property from 2005 which amounted to about £22,600.

At trial the property was valued at about £500,000 and the outstanding balance on the mortgage was about £113,000.

First instance

HHJ Madge found for W and preferred her evidence to that of M. He found that at the outset, both parties owned the property as joint tenants equally. The fact that there w ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

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