The Family Law Company acted for a woman who owned her own home in which her former partner (the father of her children) claimed to have an interest. He said he had carried out lots of work to improve the house, and that they had explicitly agreed that it would belong to them both. Rather than issue court proceedings, he entered a ‘restriction against dealings’ with the home at the land registry. This meant that our client could not sell or mortgage the home until the restriction was removed. Our client had objected to the restriction and the claim was referred to the Land Registry adjudicator for determination.

We inspected detailed photographs of the work, which appeared to be sub-standard. We therefore advised the client to issue proceedings in the County Court for a declaration that her former partner had no interest in the property, and to invite him to agree to instruct jointly an expert to inspect and value the work. Issuing proceedings would also halt the expensive Land Registry adjudication process.

After issue of proceedings, the former partner was left with little choice but to agree to the appointment of an expert, who duly noted the poor quality of the work. He was asked to value it and concluded that it added little or nothing to the value of the property. The opponent conceded the client’s claim under threat of an adverse costs order. We were then able to produce the court order to HM Land Registry to bring the adjudication process to an end, and lift the restriction.

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