Pankhania v Chandegra – Case Summary

Pankhania v Chandegra

Court of Appeal

Citations: [2012] EWCA Civ 1438; [2013] 3 FCR 16; [2013] 1 P & CR 16.


The defendant and claimant were aunt and nephew. The parties bought a property as a joint tenancy at law, with a declaration of a tenancy in common in equity. £17,500 of the purchase price came from a mortgage in their joint names. The claimant’s uncle (the defendant’s brother) provided the remaining £1000. The property was intended to be the defendant’s family home, but she was ineligible for a mortgage without assistance. The claimant agreed to a joint purchase to held her out.

The defendant began occupying the property with her husband. For over a decade, the defendant paid the mortgage alone and the claimant never occupied the premises. In 2001, the defendant changed the locks and refused to let the claimant in. The uncle died two years later, at which point the claimant began paying half of the mortgage.

The claimant sought a sale order, claiming 50% of the equitable title. The defendant argued that the claimant was only involved because the defendant could not afford the property on her own. There was never any intention that the claimant would share in the equitable title or pay off the mortgage. Accordingly, the defendant argued that she held the full equitable title under a constructive trust.

  1. Did the claimant own the full equitable title?

The Court of Appeal held in the claimant’s favour. Where there was a valid express declaration of trust, there was no room to find an implied trust. Since there was an express declaration of tenancy in common here, the defendant and claimant were entitled to 50% of the equitable title each.

This Case is Authority For…

Where there is a valid express trust, the court cannot find an implied trust which contradicts this.