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   Home      Williams & Glyns Bank v Boland

Williams & Glyn’s Bank v Boland [1981] AC 487  House of Lords

Mr Boland was the sole registered proprietor of the matrimonial home. Mrs Boland had made substantial contributions to the purchase price and mortgage payments entitling her to a beneficial interest in the house.  Mr Boland mortgaged the house  and defaulted on payments. The bank sought possession of the property and Mrs Boland claimed an overriding interest under s.70(1)(g) Land Registration Act 1925 based on her beneficial interest which was protected by her actual occupation of the house. The bank argued that the wife’s occupation was not inconsistent with the title offered and that an interest could not be both a minor interest and overriding interest.


The wife’s beneficial  interest was overriding by virtue of her actual occupation. The bank’s action for possession was therefore unsuccessful.

Lord Wilberforce:

Actual occupation  - “are ordinary words of plain English, and should, in my opinion, be interpreted as such.

“it was suggested that the wife's "occupation" was nothing but the shadow of the husband's—a version I suppose of the doctrine of unity of husband and wife. This expression and the argument flowing from it was used by Templeman J. in Bird v. Syme-Thomson [1979] 1 W.L.R. 440-444, a decision preceding and which he followed in the present case. The argument was also inherent in the judgment in Caunce v. Caunce (supra)which influenced the decisions of Templeman J. It somewhat faded from the arguments in the present case and appears to me to be heavily obsolete.”

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