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Rochefoucauld v Boustead [1897] 1 Ch 196


Land was transferred to the defendant on the understanding that it would be held on trust for the Comtesse de la Rochefoucauld however, this was never actually put into writing. The defendant  mortgaged the property. The Comtesse sought a declaration that the defendant held the property on trust. The defendant argued the trust was not enforceable due to lack of writing.

Held: Equity will not allow a statute to be an instrument of fraud. To deny the existence of the trust would amount to a fraud on the Comtesse. The trust could be evidenced by oral evidence.

Lindley LJ:

 ‘that the Statute of Frauds does not prevent the proof of a fraud; and that it is a fraud on the part of the person to whom the land is conveyed as a trustee, and who knows it was so conveyed, to deny the trust and claim the land himself’.

Back to lecture outline on Express trusts in Land Law