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Man used ‘undue influence’ to gain interest in partner’s property

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a man had used undue influence over his partner when he persuaded her to give him a joint share in her bungalow.

The woman already owned the bungalow when the couple began their relationship. She transferred the property into joint names and the couple then bought an adjacent piece of land using some of the man’s money.

They then bought a cottage with some cash provided by the man but with most of the money coming from a mortgage advance on the security of the bungalow.

The couple then moved into the cottage and sold the bungalow. Their relationship ended shortly afterwards.

The man claimed half the money from the sale of the bungalow and adjacent land, and also claimed that he was entitled to a half share of the cottage. The woman contested the claim on the basis that he had obtained a position of ascendancy over her because of her mental condition.

She said he had used undue influence on her and had started to run her finances.

The judge ruled in favour of the man at the original hearing but that has now been overturned by the Court of Appeal. It held that the man had contributed far less than the woman in the acquisition of the land and the cottage. She had also made him a substantial gift when she transferred the bungalow into joint names.

The court held that he had used undue influence on her and was not entitled to the joint shares that he claimed. However, he was entitled to a smaller share of the proceeds representing his contribution to their joint purchases.

The case was remitted so the exact figures could be worked out in accordance with the court judgment.

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