Beneficial Interest Claims and Restrictions

29 Aug 2020 | Shilpa Mathuradas
plot of land

Under the Land Registration Act 2002, a restriction can be entered in the register of any property or land by anybody who has a sufficient interest in it. As well as safeguarding the interest of the beneficiaries of the land, a restriction may also control or limit the way the property or land is dealt with.

In the cases of Hallman v Harkins [2019] UKUT 245 an application was made by the Tracy Harkins to the Land Registry to enter a restriction against the registered title to a property in Bootle (“the Property”) to protect her beneficial interest which she claimed to have. She had shared the Property with her partner of 13 years, Laurence Hallman. They had separated in 2016 and Mr Hallman was the sole registered proprietor of the Property. Mr Hallman objected to the application.

First Tier Tribunal conclusions on beneficial interest

The dispute was referred to the First Tier Tribunal (“FTT”) under section 73(7) of the Land Registration Act 2002. They concluded that parties had has a common intention from January 2013 that Mr Harkin should have a beneficial interest in the Property. As a result it directed the Chief Land Registrar to give effect to her application for a restriction to be entered on the register.

The FTT also went a step further and quantified Mr Harkin’s share on the basis that they had been invited to do so by the parties. By an arithmetical calculation based on the duration of the couple’s engagement relative to the length of their relationship it then concluded that her beneficial interest in the Property was 35% of the whole.

Appeal Findings

Permission to appeal was granted by the Upper Tribunal on two grounds:

  • The FTT’s conclusion that the couple had pooled their resources (which Mr Hallman argued was reached without regard to the relevant parts of the evidence); and
  • The FTT’s approach to the quantification of Ms Harkin’s beneficial interest (which Mr Hallman argued was arithmetically incorrect, but which is also open to the more fundamental objections that it is contrary to principle and beyond the FTT’s jurisdiction)

On appeal Martin Rodger QC made the following findings:

  • The FTT was entitled to find that Mr Harkin has a beneficial interest which should be protected by a restriction;
  • The FTT had no jurisdiction to determine the extent of that beneficial interest and its conclusion is not binding on the parties; and
  • In any event the FTT’s view that Ms Harkin’s interest was 35% was based on an incomplete assessment of the evidence and was wrong in principle.

Often where such disputes arise at the FTT stage, it is common for parties to issue proceedings in Court and for the FTT proceedings to be stayed pending the resolution of the Court proceedings. The Court can determine the extent of a parties’ beneficial interest and therefore in the interest of costs, parties tend to pursue such claims through the Court route. Naturally, if a determination is made at Court and a party is found to have a beneficial interest, it follows that a restriction should be registered.

This case is, however, is an interesting reminder of the FTT’s jurisdiction when it comes to beneficial interest claims as often these cases can arise from disputes relating to the registration of restrictions.

Shilpa Mathuradas, Partner & Head of Property Litigation

Share this article


Related InsightsVIEW ALL

  1. london property

    Trusts of Land

    What are trusts of land? Property ownership is not always a straightforward legal issue, particularly where the parties are cohabitees...

    Read more
  2. right to light

    Right to Light Law

    Right to Light Law in the UK Property owners have a legal right to light as set out in the...

    Read more
  3. flats in a london street

    Landlords and the Dangers of Rent-to-Rent

    Rent-to-Rent refers to the practice of landlords letting a whole property to a tenant (usually a limited company), which is...

    Read more
  4. accidente de construccion

    The uncertainties of beginning a building project now

    The construction industry is seeing a perfect storm at the moment with labour shortages following Brexit and material costs which...

    Read more
  5. 9.11.2021

    Can I still claim adverse possession?

    The principle of “adverse possession” commonly known as “squatters rights” is a principle which allows a person who does not...

    Read more
  6. party wall disputes

    Buying a property where a Party Wall Award...

    Buying a house with a party wall agreement Buying a property can already be a stressful process but finding out...

    Read more
  7. 26.6.2021

    The Risks Of Buying Properties Off Plan!

    The Daily Mail reported recently that 300 families a week are having to move into shoddy newly built homes. Not all...

    Read more
  8. 7.5.2021

    Costly clauses missed by lawyers in leasehold contracts

    A mum has been left facing a bill of millions of pounds a year for the ground rent of her...

    Read more
  9. lottery ticket

    House buyers and sellers should be wary of ‘...

    Property raffles are a legal minefield and many are too good to be true, according to a leading lawyer. There...

    Read more
  10. 7.8.2020

    Property Litigation lawyer, Shilpa Mathuradas quoted in Inside...

    House buyers and sellers should be wary of ‘too good to be true’ property raffles Shilpa Mathuradas, Head of Property...

    Read more
  11. 20.5.2020

    Frustration and Force Majeure – Does COVID-19 operate to...

    In these unprecedented times, many business owners may be wondering if there is any way that they can cancel or...

    Read more
  12. plot of land

    Easements – Five Questions Answered

    What is an easement? An easement is a right benefitting a piece of land (known as the dominant land) that...

    Read more
  13. 18.2.2020

    Overlooking Nuisance Claims – Buy some net curtains!

    Last week saw the Court of Appeal reaffirmed the decision not to allow the Neo Bankside residents’ an injunction to...

    Read more
  14. 6.2.2020

    ‘Glass in Hand’ Lecture – Should we be nervous...

    Hampstead residents will be able to find out about their legal rights when trees damage or overhang their property, next...

    Read more
  15. 11.10.2019

    Government eviction reforms “risk increasing delays”

    Government plans to end so-called ‘no fault’ evictions – and at the same time expand what amounts to a good reason...

    Read more
  16. 13.8.2019

    EMA Decision: Brexit Does Not Frustrate Commercial Property...

    The largely anticipated decision in the case of Canary Wharf v The European Medicines Agency has now been given. Judge...

    Read more
  17. 13.8.2019

    Squatting-will the new law provide homeowners with increased...

    On Saturday 1 September 2012 a new law came into force which makes squatting in a residential building an offence punishable by...

    Read more
  18. 13.8.2019

    Court Grants Damages For Japanese Knotweed Infestation

    The recent case of Williams v Network Rail Infrastructure [2017] has set an important precedent when dealing with Japanese knotweed. Property...

    Read more
  19. 12.8.2019

    Basement developments- How to fight back

    Basement developments are growing ever more popular, particularly in wealthy London boroughs, leaving homeowners fearful that neighbours’ excavation projects will...

    Read more
  20. 18.7.2019

    New Builds, Poor Standards!

    This week’s Dispatches programme looked at allegations of shoddy standards, poor customer care and excessive profits being made by...

    Read more
  21. 9.7.2019

    EMA Decision: Brexit Does Not Frustrate Property Lease

    The EMA’s appeal against the decision of the Order of Mr Justice Smith that Brexit would not frustrate the...

    Read more
  22. 8.7.2019


    Last year the government invited views on how they should tackle exploitative practise in the leaseholder sector. They have now...

    Read more
  23. 10.4.2019

    Tenant Fees Act 2019 – Landlords & Letting Agents be Warned

    On 12 February 2019, the Tenant Fees Bill received Royal Assent and comes into effect on the 1 June 2019 The Act prevents landlord...

    Read more
  24. 25.3.2019

    Court case has serious consequences for landlords recovery...

    On the 21st December 2012 the High Court handed down its judgment in the case of Phillips & Godard -v- Francis &...

    Read more