Q&As

Can a Sears Tooth agreement be entered into in relation to proceedings under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA 1996)?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 19/02/2018

The following Family Q&A Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can a Sears Tooth agreement be entered into in relation to proceedings under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA 1996)?

This Q&A considers whether a Sears Tooth agreement can be entered into in a case brought under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA 1996).

A Sears Tooth agreement is named after the case of Sears Tooth v Payne Hicks Beach in which Wilson J held that an assignment of the capital benefit of the outcome of financial remedy proceedings in order to cover the costs of solicitors was not contrary to public policy. It is an effective and legitimate means for a solicitor to receive payment of their costs. Wilson J observed as follows:

‘I have come to the clear conclusion, by reference not only to modern general principle but also to such specific jurisprudence as exists, that the deed between ST [Sears Tooth] and the wife is not champertous or otherwise contrary to public policy and is valid. Far from striking at public justice, the main tendency of such a deed is to promote it by securing proper advice and r

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