Thomas v Thomas [1842] is a well-known UK case that dealt with the issue of whether a widow was entitled to continue living in a house owned by her deceased husband under a particular arrangement made between them.

In the case, Mr. Thomas had agreed with his wife that she could continue to live in their house after his death, on the condition that she paid an annual rent of one pound and kept the property in good condition. Mr. Thomas had also appointed his wife as the sole executrix of his will.

After Mr. Thomas’ death, his wife continued to live in the house and paid the annual rent. However, Mr. Thomas’ executors later attempted to evict her, arguing that the arrangement was not legally binding.

The court held that the agreement between Mr. and Mrs. Thomas was legally binding and that Mrs. Thomas was entitled to continue living in the house. The court reasoned that the arrangement was supported by valuable consideration (i.e. the payment of the annual rent), and that Mr. Thomas had intended to create a binding legal obligation on his executors to allow his wife to live in the house. The court also held that the appointment of Mrs. Thomas as sole executrix of the will was further evidence of Mr. Thomas’ intention to create a legally binding arrangement.

The case is notable for its recognition of the importance of intention in the formation of a legally binding agreement, as well as the role of valuable consideration in supporting such agreements. It also highlights the importance of careful drafting of wills and other legal documents to ensure that the intentions of the parties are accurately reflected and legally enforceable.

Errington v Errington Woods 1952

Errington v Errington and Woods [1952] is a UK case that established the principle of proprietary estoppel in the context of family property disputes.

The case involved a father, Mr. Errington, who had purchased a house for his son and daughter-in-law, the defendants, on the understanding that they would make the mortgage payments and eventually take ownership of the property. The son and daughter-in-law made the mortgage payments for several years, but after Mr. Errington’s death, his widow claimed that the property belonged to her and sought to evict the defendants.

The defendants argued that they had a proprietary estoppel over the property, which meant that they had relied on Mr. Errington’s promises and had acted to their detriment by making mortgage payments and improving the property.

The court held that the defendants had a proprietary estoppel over the property, and that they were entitled to the beneficial interest in the property. The court found that Mr. Errington had made a clear and unequivocal promise to transfer the property to his son and daughter-in-law, and that they had acted to their detriment by making the mortgage payments and improvements. The court held that it would be unconscionable for Mrs. Errington to deny the defendants’ claim to the property.

The case established the principle that a person can acquire a proprietary interest in property through proprietary estoppel, even in the absence of a formal legal agreement or contract. This principle has since been extended to other areas of law, including contracts and trusts.