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By Dave
12/06/2012

Cohabitant succession

All there is at the moment is a Lawtel note of Amicus Horizon v Mabott and Brand and no neutral citation.  It concerns whether Mr Brand was living with Ms Mabott as her husband for the purposes of succcession to Ms Mabott’s tenancy: s 17(4), Housing Act 1988.  They had lived together in the property for 10 years.  They obviously had a loving relationship – according to the Lawtel note, they “gave those who knew them the impression that their relationship was important and lasting” – and Mr Brand expressed his devotion to Ms Mabott’s daughter.  But they had claimed benefits separately and it had been found that Ms Mabott “had always been keen to preserve her independence because of past experiences”.  The judge had found that they were not living together as husband and wife, and the Court of Appeal refused to overturn that decision on the basis that the judge had been aware of the correct test so that Mr Brand had not discharged the burden of demonstrating to the outside world that they had displayed a lifetime commitment.  I guess this shows the importance yet again of the significance of the county court judge’s decision and the difficulty of overturning it, but I’d like to take a peak at the CA judgment if there is one (hint hint Rebecca Cattermole and Angela Jack, who were counsel for the parties).

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