Hugh James successfully argue proprietary estoppel at Court of Appeal
Wiljo Salen represented the successful party in the case of Davies & Another v Davies  EWCA Civ 568A, a proprietary estoppel claim in relation to a farming business thought to be worth approximately £10m.
Both parties who are alleged to have made the promises that were relied upon denied making them. Instead, they alleged that our client was only ever an employee of the business or a contractor for the business and was never expressly promised any benefit beyond remuneration for work undertaken.
Possession proceedings were instigated in relation to the farmland and our client counterclaimed on the basis of a proprietary estoppel having arisen. A first instance trial of preliminary issues was heard in summer 2013 with the resulting judgment making significant positive findings of fact in our client’s favour which were sufficient to give rise to an estoppel. The counter-claim defendants appealed but the first instance decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Man who farmed uncle’s land for over 25 years for no pay receives £200,000
We acted for the defendant nephew who asserted that he had been promised his uncle’s estate, largely comprising farmland, for over 25 years and that, in reliance upon those promises, he had dedicated his life to working on the farm for no income. The nephew also disputed the will on the basis of the testator’s lack of capacity and lack of knowledge and approval.
Our client had suffered a series of strokes making communication very difficult at times and the urgent need to obtain a very detailed statement of events.
There were also numerous interim applications to contend including a default judgment application and an application to treat a directions hearing as a costs case management conference which was successfully defended by Hugh James. At mediation, Hugh James were able to recover £200,000 and provide much needed closure for the nephew.