A dispute over land pleaded to be held in trust. The plaintiffs submitted that the disputed land was held in constructive trust for each of the plaintiffs and their brother. The plaintiffs further submitted that it is unconscionable for the first defendant to retain the property due to a common intention that the land would pass in equal share to each of the children, rather than to any one with the exclusion of the others. As a result, the plaintiffs sought a declaration that the land be held in trust by the first defendant for the plaintiffs and the second defendant. In the alternative, the plaintiffs sought equitable compensation equal to 80 per cent of the land’s value.
The defendants made two applications: firstly for summary judgement or an order that the proceeding be permanently stayed, secondly asking that the plaintiff’s amendments to the statement of claim be disallowed.
The Court determined that the plaintiff’s amendments should not be disallowed as, substantially, the same facts were relied on in the previous pleading. Further, the delay which may follow as a result of the amendments was not sufficient to cause prejudice to the defendants. Additionally, the Court gave summary judgement for the defendants against the plaintiffs on the issues of a proprietary remedy and a remedial trust. However, the Court did not permanently stay the proceedings or give summary judgement for the rest of the amended statement of claim.
Sean Russell (with C Jennings QC) appeared for the respondents/plaintiffs.
The judgment is published here.