Barnes v Phillips [2015] EWCA Civ 1056: Imputation! Imputation! Imputation!

  • Gwyn Evans Author: Gwyn Evans
  • Date: 27 Oct, 2015
  • In: Articles

This judgment is somewhat unusual. I have summarised it below, and highlighted tensions with the recent decision in Capehorn v Harris [2015] EWCA Civ 955(, and with the Court of Appeal's guidance on equitable accounting set out in Willcox v Tait [2006] EWCA Civ 1867, [2007] 2 FLR 871.


The parties had been in a relationship since 1983, and had lived together since 1989. They bought their first property together in 1996, in Lee, South-East London. It was purchased in the parties’ joint names in 1996 for £135k, at a time when they had a two-year-old child. The purchase was funded by their £25k savings, and a joint repayment mortgage of c. £110k with HSBC. The lower court found that at the time of purchase the parties were joint tenants in law and equity as that was their common intention. Mr Barnes (“B”) paid the mortgage and life insurance, whilst Ms Philips (“P”) paid the council tax. They shared the utility bills, and although B may have made a greater financial contributions because he earned more, P made a greater contribution to the care of their (now two) daughters.

The parties carried out various major works (windows, drive, landscaping) to the property, funded jointly.

Gywn Evans discusses this in detail in this article