Stack v Dowden [2007]

Stack v Dowden [2007]

Stack v Dowden [2007] UKHL 17 is a landmark case in English property law, which concerns the issue of how to determine the beneficial ownership of a property where the legal title is held jointly.

Ms Dowden and Mr Stack had purchased a property together as joint tenants. There was no evidence of an agreement between them as to the extent of their beneficial ownership in the property. They subsequently separated, and Ms Dowden continued to live in the property with their children while Mr Stack moved out.

The issue in the case was whether the beneficial ownership of the property should be divided equally between them, as joint tenants, or whether Ms Dowden had a greater share in the property, reflecting her greater contributions towards its purchase and maintenance.

The House of Lords held that, in order to determine the beneficial ownership of a jointly owned property, the common intention of the parties at the time of purchase should be considered. This intention should be determined objectively, based on the words and conduct of the parties, and any relevant circumstances.

The Court found that Ms Dowden had made a larger financial contribution towards the purchase of the property, while Mr Stack had made a smaller financial contribution but had carried out significant renovation work on the property. The Court also found that the parties had conducted their financial affairs separately and had not intended to share the property equally.

Based on these factors, the Court held that Ms Dowden was entitled to a 65 percent interest in the property, reflecting her greater financial contribution, and that Mr Stack was entitled to a 35 percent interest in the property, reflecting his contribution to the property through the renovation work.
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