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Williams and Glyn’s Bank v Boland [1981]


  • The case concerned two appeals at the House of Lords on almost indistinguishable sets of facts
  • A husband was the sole registered proprietor of a legal estate – the only registered owner of some registered land
  • The husband mortgaged the house to fund an external business venture, and subsequently defaulted on his mortgage payments
  • The husband’s wife had contributed to the purchase price of the house
  • The bank was unaware of the wife’s contribution


  • Could the bank’s interest take priority over that of the wife, such that the bank could obtain possession of the house?


  • No


  • The property was subject to the registered title conveyancing process
  • The wife had an equitable interest, known as a minor interest, in the house, due to her contribution to the purchase price
  • The husband held the property on trust for both himself and his wife as equitable tenants in common in proportions equal to their respective purchase price contributions
  • As the wife was in actual occupation of the land, her minor interest became overriding by virtue of the Land Registration Act 1925
  • The bank could not seek possession of the house as an overriding interest takes priority over a later mortgagee


[1981] AC 487

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