Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Guildhall Chambers (Chambers of James Townsend)

Guildhall Chambers (Chambers of James Townsend)

Daisy Brown explores how the courts will apply equitable accounting principles to co-owned trust property

In the judgment handed down on 7 April this year in Davis v Jackson [2017], Snowden J had cause to consider in detail the principle commonly referred to as ‘equitable accounting’ between beneficiaries of trusts of land. The context was a claim by a trustee in bankruptcy for possession of a jointly-owned property and the facts were unusual, but the judgment is a welcome analysis of the more general right to an account between co-owners in a post-TLATA (Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996), post-Stack v Dowden regime.

Jorren Knibbe concludes his review of some noteworthy decisions of the UK and European courts

Part one: 'The best of times, the worst of times', POJ38

This year has seen the courts consider a number of cases that afford the practitioner useful guidance in key areas of concern, ranging from disclosure to bidding practice and discrimination. In this second part of my overview of these cases, a number of key practice points are considered.

In part one of a two-part consideration, Jorren Knibbe assesses judicial developments in the first half of 2017

This article describes developments in public procurement case law in the first half of 2017 (up to mid-June). This part will examine three domestic cases in detail:

William Batstone examines the Court of Appeal decision in Davies v Davies [2016]

Tegwyn and Mary Davies have farmed in West Carmarthenshire since 1961 and they continue to do so now in their mid-seventies. They have three daughters: Enfys, Eirian and Eleri; and by the time Eirian was 17 it had become clear that she was the only one interested in taking over the farm. The press coverage of the case described her as the ‘Cowshed Cinderella’ because in court she said that she missed out on Young Farmers’ Club dances with her sisters because she had to muck out and do other chores on the farm. It was Eirian’s case that she undertook long hours of such work for low or no pay because of what her parents had told her about her succeeding to the farm. Eirian is an accomplished stockwoman whose hard work and passionate dedication helped her parents produce what Floyd LJ described in Davies v Davies [2014] at [59] as ‘a prodigious Holstein pedigree milking herd and a highly successful business’. That earlier decision of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal by Tegwyn and Mary against the finding of HHJ Jarman QC in Davies v Davies [2013] that Eirian had raised an equity against her parents by virtue of the principles of proprietary estoppel. The parties were unable to fulfil the hope expressed by Floyd LJ at [59]:

Selena Plowden discusses the legal frameworks and likely objections to the release of documents by an NHS trust

This article addresses difficulties encountered by claimants when seeking disclosure of documents created by a defendant NHS trust during investigations into an adverse incident. Paragraph 3.2 of the revised Pre Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes specifically provides that:

William Batstone examines Davies v Davies [2015], in which a farmer’s son secured the freehold of the farm that his father had encouraged him to make his life’s work by promises that it would eventually be his

There is a well-established line of authority that an inherently revocable promise about future inheritance of farms and farmland will be rendered irrevocable by the promisee’s reasonable detrimental reliance on the promise to the extent that an equity arises which is to be satisfied by fulfilling the expectation or, if appropriate, by satisfying the equity in a more limited way. Those cases include Gillet v Holt [2000], Thorner v Major [2009], Suggitt v Suggitt [2012], Davies v Davies [2014], and Seward v Seward [2014]. The trend of the more recent of those cases has been to the effect that the claimant’s expectations will be fulfilled even where there is only a loose correlation between expectation and detriment and that it is only if the former is extravagant or out of all proportion to the latter that the equity will be satisfied in a more limited way than by fulfilling the expectation. This claimant-friendly environment may be reviewed by the Court of Appeal in the appeal in the Davies v Davies [2014] case, in which the claimant was dubbed by the press the Cowshed Cinderella, and may be subject to change. The other Davies v Davies case saw the orthodox application of the principles of proprietary estoppel to the facts found by the judge, but one unusual feature undoubtedly contributed to James Davies being granted relief which matched his expectations.

John Snell provides invaluable advice on this difficult area of law

A horse, as Lord Justice Lewison observed in Turnbull v Warrener [2012] at para 56, is a ‘powerful beast’. One might add that it is a large animal with a well-developed fight or flight response, a heavy kick and a nasty bite. It is not at all surprising that people’s interactions with horses give rise to a considerable number of serious accidents every year. The purpose of this article is to consider some of the typical issues which arise when litigating equine claims at common law and under the Animals Act 1971.

Fox v Jewell gives an indication of the appropriate procedure practitioners should follow when dealing with a multi-stranded claim. Malcolm Warner reports

Farmers’ sons seem to form the bedrock of a practice advising on proprietary estoppel and, with the cost of farmland rising remorselessly, this shows no sign of abatement. The scenario plays out akin to a Victorian novel, but this reflects the cases crossing my desk time and again. The parents hope their sons will come into farming after them, and during their childhood the children help out on the farm. As careers loom large in the mid-teenage years, there are discussions over the kitchen table about the future of farming and especially this family’s farming. Some children are interested and others are not. The ones who are interested join their parents and, as time moves on and they enter their 20s, the talk turns to the longer term, especially as some may be ‘courting’ and, farmers being farmers, they may have to tell another family what their prospects are.