Q&As

What are the key differences between a claim under section 17 of the Married Women's Property Act 1882 and section 14 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, other than the nature of relationship between the parties?

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Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 31/08/2016

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

  • What are the key differences between a claim under section 17 of the Married Women's Property Act 1882 and section 14 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, other than the nature of relationship between the parties?

Despite the persisting belief, there is no legal concept of a ‘common law’ husband or wife. Therefore, unmarried parties who may occupy a property for decades with their partner may find, at the end of the relationship, that they have no interest in that property. Unlike the provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973), the courts have no power to award one party to a (unmarried) relationship a share in property or assets belonging to another. Parties can therefore find themselves without a share. In such circumstances, there are limited statutory provisions to fall back upon. Where there are children, there is potential for a claim under schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989. Otherwise, the most common claim will be under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA 1996). In certain circumstances, a claim can be brought instead or additionally under the Married Women’s Property Act 1882 (MWPA 1882).

Property in England and Wales is held on a trust of land. This means that the person in whose name the property is in (the ‘legal owner’) holds the property on trust for the ‘beneficial owner’. Ordinarily, t

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