We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Cohabitants, detriment and the potential of proprietary estoppel : Southwell v Blackburn [2014] EWCA Civ 1347.

Hayward, A. (2015) 'Cohabitants, detriment and the potential of proprietary estoppel : Southwell v Blackburn [2014] EWCA Civ 1347.', Child and family law quarterly., 27 (3). pp. 303-320.


This commentary critiques the Court of Appeal decision of Southwell v Blackburn that involved a successful proprietary estoppel claim by a former cohabitant. It will argue that although the decision appears in some respects inconsistent with previous authority, it does suggest that proprietary estoppel could have a greater role to play in cohabitation disputes. Nevertheless Southwell is by no means a landmark ruling and nor is proprietary estoppel the panacea for cohabitants as it suffers many of the limitations levelled against the more commonly used common intention constructive trust. If the courts were to prioritise or develop proprietary estoppel further in this context, it would need to modify the traditional requirements of estoppel namely a representation, inducing detrimental reliance. With that process in mind, this commentary questions whether proprietary estoppel should be remodelled in the domestic consumer context to enable the doctrine to have greater application by cohabitants upon relationship breakdown.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:17 September 2015
Date deposited:20 January 2016
Date of first online publication:September 2015
Date first made open access:01 September 2017

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar