Jones v Kernott [2011]

Jones v Kernott [2011] is a case in English property law which deals with the issue of how to determine the beneficial interests of cohabiting parties in a property when there is no express agreement.

Mr Kernott and Ms Jones were unmarried and owned a property together as joint tenants. After they separated, Mr Kernott moved out of the property, while Ms Jones continued to live there, make mortgage payments, and take care of their children. The issue was whether Mr Kernott had any continuing beneficial interest in the property and, if so, how much.

The Supreme Court held that, in the absence of an express agreement, the court should consider the whole course of dealing between the parties and any other relevant circumstances, in order to infer their common intention as to the beneficial ownership of the property.

The Court found that the parties had intended to own the property jointly when they purchased it, but their intentions had changed over time. Mr Kernott had moved out of the property, made no financial contributions towards the property, and ceased to pay bills and maintenance for the children for a considerable time. Ms Jones had continued to live in the property, make mortgage payments, and provide maintenance for the children.

The Court considered Ms Jones' contributions to the property, including her significant financial contributions and her role as the primary caregiver for the couple's children, which had limited her ability to work full-time and increase her financial contributions. The Court also considered Mr Kernott's lack of financial contributions to the property and his limited involvement with the children.

Taking these factors into account, the Court ruled that they held the property in unequal shares to reflect their contributions to the family home. Ms Jones was entitled to a 90% share in the property, and Mr Kernott was entitled to a 10% share.
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