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Course Masterclass in Unmarried Couples, Separation and TOLATA Claims


Cases between unmarried couples are an increasingly important part of family law work, but ones that cause many practitioners difficulty.

Unfamiliarity with Civil Procedure Rules, costs, the risk of taking claims to court and difficulties with quantification are just some of the issues that practitioners face.

This day will provide you with a comprehensive guide to TOLATA claims in the context of family work.

Property fundamentals

  • Declarations of trust – express, constructive and resulting trusts and cohabitation agreements
  • MPPA 1970
  • Priority of interests, occupiers and overreaching
  • Land Registry notices and restrictions

Sole ownership and joint ownership claims

  • Claims against a sole owner and claims between co-owners – looking at the case law to understand the treatment of these two factual scenarios – Stack v Dowden; Jones v Kernott; and following cases
  • Differential treatment of investment properties
  • Displacing express agreements: setting aside, variation and collateral agreements
  • Proprietory estoppel

Negotiating a settlement

  • Assessing the strength of your case
  • Quantifying the claim
  • Negotiating, using dispute resolution approaches
  • Drafting agreements
  • Tomlin orders


  • Buy-out, sale and postponement of sale
  • Equitable accounting – general principles and overlap with “ambulatory” trusts
  • Occupational rent – when payable/quantification
  • Mortgage payments/joint indebtedness
  • Improvements
  • Receipt of rent/profits from land

Interaction with other claims

  • When do TOLATA claims arise?
  • Schedule 1 CA 1989
  • Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Money claims
  • Life policies, credit card debts and possessions
  • Claims between married couples
  • Third party interests under the MCA 1973
  • Creditors, insolvency and confiscation orders

Practice and Procedure

  • Pre-action steps
  • Making the claim – procedure
  • Evidence and disclosure
  • The hearings: CMC etc
  • Tactics and procedural considerations
  • Part 36, settlement and costs orders
  • Costs management and proportionality – Seagrove v Sullivan [2014] EWHC 4110 (Fam)

Cohabitation Agreements and Declarations of Trust: Law, Practice and Drafting Tips

  • Why have a cohabitation agreement?
  • Are they enforceable?
  • What do declarations of trust need to cover to be fully effective?
  • How to draft
  • Notices to cohabitants

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6 hours


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Olivia MurphyDetails
Gerald WilsonDetails


Gerald Wilson was especially good since he made a complex subject matter much simpler.

Pradeep Shina, Creighton & Partners



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