You are a trainee solicitor in the firm of Sue, Grabbit and Run. Last week the senior partner had an appointment with Claude who was seeking advice over a dispute.
You have been given a transcript of the conversation the senior partner had with Claude as follows:
Claude: In 2002 Alan, Bettina, Daniel, Edward and myself bought a house together called Greenacres when we left university as we were all working in Southampton. Myself, Alan, Bettina and Daniel but not Edward are on the legal title and the house was conveyed to all five of us as beneficial joint tenants. In 2004 Alan went off to work in Scotland. In 2005 Bettina sent a separate letter to everyone still living in the house, so to myself, Daniel and Edward saying that she wanted to hold her share as tenant in common from then on. I remember collecting all three letters from the postman at the front door.
Senior partner: Did she send the same letter to Alan?
Claude: Yes, although we’re not sure if it ever got there even though it was sent by registered delivery to the address he was living at. In 2007 Edward then decided that he wanted to hold his share in the property as a tenant in common so we all agreed by Skype, that’s to say Alan, Bettina, Daniel and myself that he would be a tenant in common from that day on. The next thing that happened was that in 2011 Daniel decided to move out and so he sold his share in the house to Zavier. I know it was only a verbal agreement and that they never got round to putting anything in writing. Zavier moved in and is still there. Daniel then went off to visit Alan in Scotland but very sadly last month both Daniel and Alan died in an accident. Daniel left his share in the house in his will to Ray and Alan left his share in the house in his will to his aunt Nora. What I need to know is the following:
Aunt Nora has said that she is going to move into the house. I’m not happy with this.
Ray says that he would like the house to be sold because he wants what was Daniel’s share of the money that he put into it. Zavier says that he now owns Daniel’s share and so Ray can’t have anything.
We started out as friends living together and now everything has changed.
You have been asked by the senior partner to trace the devolution of both the legal and equitable titles identifying the respective shares of those people who you consider have an interest in the property. In the file there is a note which states that you must:
1. Identify the area of law which will determine the dispute.
2. Explain the law and apply it to the facts which you have been given.
3. Come to a considered conclusion regarding who you think is now on the legal title and who is on the equitable title and their respective shares.
You are also asked to advise whether Aunt Nora can move into the house and whether Ray or Zavier have any claim to an interest in the house.
The word guide for this part of the assessment task is 1500 words.
There is a second file note in which the senior partner has made a note suggesting that he thinks Claude will ask for Greenacres to be sold. The senior partner has asked you to explain the significance of sections 14 and 15 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and to identify the factors therein that will apply particularly in Claude’s situation.
The word guide for this part of the assessment task is 500 words.