Geary v Rankine

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Geary v Rankine
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
Court Court of Appeal
Decided 29 March 2012
Citation(s) [2012] EWCA Civ 555
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Lewison LJ, Etherton LJ, Thorpe LJ
trust, family home

Geary v Rankine [2012] EWCA Civ 555 is an English land law case, concerning constructive trusts, and the establishment of a beneficial interest in the family home.


Mrs Geary and Mr Rankine had been in a relationship since 1990. In 1996, Rankine purchased a guest house with his own savings. The parties had not intended to live in the property or run it themselves; instead having it run by a manager. Difficulties with the manager lead Rankine to run the business himself. He realised that he could not run it alone and Geary became involved in the business, cleaning, cooking and looking after guests. Rankine did not pay Geary wages, and she asked for money when she needed it. The relationship deteriorated, Geary brought a claim for an interest in the guest house based on a business partnership or a constructive trust.


At first instance, the Judge rejected Geary's claim; and Geary appealed.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal,[1] holding that the legal title was solely in Rankine's name and so the burden of establishing a constructive trust was on Geary. The relevant question was whether there was a common intention for Geary to have a beneficial interest in the property, applying Jones v Kernott [2011] UKSC 53, which must be determined objectively from the parties' conduct. Geary had shown there was a common intention to run the business together, but it was not correct to therefore reach a conclusion of a common intention that the property in which the business was run, bought by only one of them, would now belong to both of them. The judge at first instance had not erred in concluding there was no constructive trust.

Lewison LJ said the following.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [2012] EWCA Civ 555