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Curley v Parkes [2005] 1 P & CR DG 15

Purchase price resulting trust of home; when trust takes effect; whether it can be altered subsequently.

Facts

Curley and Parkes cohabited as a couple from 1999. In 2000 Parkes sold her existing home and purchased a house in Richmond with the sale proceeds, a mortgage in her own name, and her own savings. The property was registered in her sole name and Curley contributed nothing to the purchase price. They held a joint bank account from which the mortgage instalments were paid. In 2001 Curley received a relocation package from his employer. Parkes bought a new property with a mortgage in her sole name. Curley made payments into Parkes account, and when the relationship ended he claimed a half share in the house.

Issues

Curley argued there was an express agreement between the parties that they should hold the beneficial title to the property in equal shares. In the alternative, he claimed such an agreement should be inferred from the circumstances, and that a constructive trust should be found in his favour. He also contended a purchase price resulting trust should have been found to have arisen because of the payments he made to Parkes after the purchase of the property. Parkes contended no resulting trust arose, because such payments as she received from Curley were made after the property had been purchased.

Held

Curley’s claim failed. A purchase price resulting trust takes effect and crystallises at the time of its creation when the property is purchased, and ordinarily cannot be changed afterwards. Such agreements as were reached between the parties were not intended to have legal consequences, and Curley had not directly contributed to the purchase price and, therefore, no resulting trust could have arisen.


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