Thursday, 28 March 2013

3 Minute Cases: Burgess v Rawnsley 1975

  • The plaintiff’s father was friends with the defendant (lady)
  • The house in concern wasn’t that big and divided into two flats, he lived downstairs and the upstairs flat was vacant 
  • The defendant was looking for a place to stay and so along with the plaintiff’s father bought the property.
  • They contributed half each and expressely said in the covenyence they will hold as joint tenants on trust for themselves
  • Issue was the plaintiffs father thought they were a couple whereas defendant saw it as friends. 
  • A year later when this became clear, they orally decided he would pay a greater price and buy her share of the property.
  • When it came to doing the formalities such as severing through written notice, s 36 LPA
  • One of the reasons she pulled out her offers is because she wanted to charge a higher price .
  • The father died at this point so the question became had the defendant severed and the property gone to the father’s daughter or did she now hold the property on trust for herself.
  • If she had severed as property was in the will for the daughter the plaintiff would hold the property on trust for her and if not would hold it on trust for herself.

  • Yes it had been severed
  • The negotiations show an irrevocable will to sever and thus this is an example of reverence through mutual conduct
  • The stressed in this case that mutual conduct is heavily reliant on the facts of the case. 


  • An example of a successful severance not in writing. 
  • Intention plays a great role 

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