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Privy Council to hand down judgment in beneficial ownership case

Was the correct test applied on breakdown of relationship?

On 25 May 2017 the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council will hand down judgment in Marr v Collie, an appeal from the Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

The Privy Council, comprising Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson and Lord Sumption, will consider whether the Court of Appeal applied the correct legal test or tests in determining the beneficial ownership of certain property following the breakdown of a personal relationship.

The parties became involved in a personal relationship in 1991 which broke down in July 2008. Between 2000 and 2008, the appellant purchased five real-estate properties (the "Investment Properties"). These were conveyed to the parties in joint names. The appellant purchased a truck and a boat (the "Vehicles") in 2007. The truck was licensed in joint names and the boat was registered solely in the respondent's name.

Following attempts to achieve a negotiated settlement concerning the ownership Investment Properties and the Vehicles, the appellant brought proceedings in the Supreme Court of the Bahamas seeking, amongst other things, a declaration that he owned the entire beneficial interest in these assets. Isaacs J decided this issue in favour of the appellant. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part, ordering that the Investment Properties and Vehicles be sold and proceeds to be split between the parties.