Beneficial Ownership in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Ayerst v C. & K. (Construction) Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 21 May 1975

    The "legal ownership" of the trust property is in the trustee, but he holds it not for his own benefit but for the benefit of the cestui que trustent or beneficiaries. Upon the creation of a trust in the strict sense as it was developed by equity the full ownership in the trust property was split into two constituent elements, which became vested in different persons: the "legal ownership" in the trustee, what came to be called the "beneficial ownership" in the cestui que trust.

  • Stack v Dowden
    • House of Lords
    • 25 Apr 2007

    Just as the starting point where there is sole legal ownership is sole beneficial ownership, the starting point where there is joint legal ownership is joint beneficial ownership. The onus is upon the person seeking to show that the beneficial ownership is different from the legal ownership. So in sole ownership cases it is upon the non-owner to show that he has any interest at all. In joint ownership cases, it is upon the joint owner who claims to have other than a joint beneficial interest.

    The law has indeed moved on in response to changing social and economic conditions. The search is to ascertain the parties' shared intentions, actual, inferred or imputed, with respect to the property in the light of their whole course of conduct in relation to it.

  • Oxley v Hiscock
    • Court of Appeal
    • 06 May 2004

    But, in a case where there is no evidence of any discussion between them as to the amount of the share which each was to have – and even in a case where the evidence is that there was no discussion on that point – the question still requires an answer. It must now be accepted that (at least in this Court and below) the answer is that each is entitled to that share which the court considers fair having regard to the whole course of dealing between them in relation to the property.

  • Lloyds Bank Plc v Rosset and Others
    • House of Lords
    • 08 May 1990

    The first and fundamental question which must always be resolved is whether, independently of any inference to be drawn from the conduct of the parties in the course of sharing the house as their home and managing their joint affairs, there has at any time prior to acquisition, or exceptionally at some later date, been any agreement, arrangement or understanding reached between them that the property is to be shared beneficially.

  • Midland Bank v Cooke and Another
    • Court of Appeal
    • 07 Jul 1995

    When the court is proceeding, in cases like the present where the partner without legal title has successfully asserted an equitable interest through direct contribution, to determine (in the absence of express evidence of intention) what proportions the parties must be assumed to have intended for their beneficial ownership, the duty of the judge is to undertake a survey of the whole course of dealing between the parties relevant to their ownership and occupation of the property and their sharing of its burdens and advantages.

  • Grant v Edwards and Another
    • Court of Appeal
    • 24 Mar 1986

    This requires two matters to be demonstrated: (a) That there was a common intention that both should have a beneficial interest; AND (b) That the claimant has acted to his or her detriment on the basis of that common intention.

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Books & Journal Articles
  • Lifting the veil on beneficial ownership. Challenges of implementing the UK’s registers of beneficial owners
    • Nbr. 23-4, June 2020
    • Journal of Money Laundering Control
    • 717-734
    Purpose: This paper aims to critically explore the challenges facing the UK in implementing registers of beneficial owners, a measure mandated by the EU’s anti-money laundering (AML) directive to e...
  • The misuse of corporate vehicles
    • Nbr. 10-2, April 2003
    • Journal of Financial Crime
    • 133-134
    Comments briefly on the OECD report on Guernsey as an Offshore Financial Centre, one which is emphatically not a Non‐Cooperative Country or Territory. Focuses on the misuse of corporate vehicles fo...
  • Money laundering using investment companies
    • Nbr. 18-4, October 2015
    • Journal of Money Laundering Control
    • 438-446
    Purpose: – This paper aims to start with the assumption that money laundering through the use of investments will continue to occur and will become increasingly more complex to try and avoid detect...
  • Illicit financial flows: HSBC case study
    • Nbr. 21-2, May 2018
    • Journal of Money Laundering Control
    • 231-246
    Purpose: This paper provides examples of how illicit financial flows (IFFs) are occurring through the formal banking and financial services sector. The purpose of this paper is to explore which ele...
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Law Firm Commentaries
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