Inwards v Baker

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Citation: Inwards v Baker (1965) 2 QB 29.

This information can be found in the Textbook: Edgeworth et all, Sackville and Neave's Property Law Cases and Materials, 8th edition, Lexis Nexis, 2008, pp. 385-6 [4.122].

Contents

Background facts

  • Mr. Baker allowed his son Jack to build a house on his land.
    • Jack worked himself on the project, with the help of one or two labourers.
    • His father provided helped him with 150 pounds.
  • Once complete, Jack lived in the house, and has ever since.
  • Mr. Baker died in 1951 without mentioning the house. He appointed his wife executrix. She appointed her children as trustees.
  • While at first apparently acknowledging Jack's right to stay, the trustees subsequently brought an action to eject Jack.

Arguments

  • The trustees claimed that Jack had, at most, a licence, which was revoked.

Legal issues

Judgement

  • The equity on expenditure in the land should not fail merely because Jack’s interest to be secured was not expressly indicated. The court has to look at the ‘circumstances’ to see what equity can be satisfied.
  • If the owner of land requests or allows another to expend money on the land under an expectation created by the landlord that he will be able to remain there, that raises an equity in the licensee such as to entitle him to stay.
  • In this case, Jack had spent money and time on the improvement (the house), and that money and time was spent upon the request or encouragement of his father, on the expectation of that Jack would be allowed to stay there.
  • Jack wins.

Note:

  • The court admitted that a basis for a constructive trust could be found as well. However, a constructive trust would be too severe a remedy in this case, and equity will order the minimum equity required to do justice.

References

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