On appeal from: [2011] CSIH 25

The parties had cohabited in the respondent’s house after the respondent had strongly encouraged the appellant to sell her property and move in with him.

Upon their separation the appellant sought payment under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006, s 28, which allows a former cohabitant who has suffered “economic disadvantage in the interests of” the other to claim payment of a capital sum. The sheriff found that the appellant had sold her property in the interests of furthering her relationship with the respondent, and the proceeds of sale had partly been used for the couple’s living expenses, and made a compensation order in the appellant’s favour. This was overturned on appeal to the Inner House.

The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal, stating that the underlying principle behind s 28 was one of fairness, enabling the court to correct imbalances. In this case the appellant had suffered economic disadvantage in the interests of the respondent. Provided that a disadvantage had been suffered in the interests of the other party to some extent, the door was open to the possibility of compensation regardless of the applicant’s intention.

For judgment, please download: [2012] UKSC 29
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII