1 Garden Court

Elizabeth Darlington

Year of Call: 1998

Practice Overview

Elizabeth specialises in family finance and property disputes. Her practice focuses upon the financial consequences of relationship breakdown (whether marriage or cohabitation) and property disputes between family members generally.

Elizabeth is recommended in Chambers and Partners 2017: "She has an excellent knowledge in the complex area of trusts of land work, has a good client manner and is calm, thorough and well prepared."

Elizabeth commands trust and confidence in lay and professional clients alike (Legal 500 2016)

The Third Edition of "Cohabitation and Trusts of Land", which Elizabeth co-authored, has recently been published by Sweet and Maxwell. In his Foreword, Ryder LJ states:

"I commend this work to both specialist practitioners and court users. I encourage its citation in court and I join with its authors in hoping that its extensive use in providing consistent and reliable advice will help further the just settlement of claims without recourse to contested hearings."

Her website: www.elizabethdarlington.co.uk provides regular updates on developments in her areas of expertise.

  • Areas of Expertise

    Elizabeth undertakes a wide range of contentious and non-contentious work including:

    • Real Property
    • Co-ownership disputes, including applications under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 based on constructive and/or resulting trust and proprietary estoppel
    • Schedule 1 claims
    • Inheritance Act claims
    • Ancillary relief work, particularly in cases involving interveners and complex issues concerning ownership of property
    • Commercial disputes
    • Boundary disputes
    • Landlord and Tenant
    • Professional negligence in these areas


    She also undertakes cases before the Land Registry Adjudicator.


    Elizabeth is often instructed to appear in mediations and arbitrations and accepts instructions as an Early Neutral Evaluator ("ENE").

  • Reported Cases

    Curran v Collins 2015 - application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

    Elizabeth was instructed to apply for permission to appeal the decision of Curran v Collins [2015] EWCA Civ 404 to the Supreme Court. This case concerned the test to be applied by the Courts in cases in which a property is owned in one partner's sole name. Permission was refused on the facts of the case.

    Begum v Issa and ors [2014] EW Misc B51

    Case concerning an unregistered Islamic marriage and therefore governed by property law principles. The case included allegations of fraud; priorities of mortgages and whether an order for sale should be deferred. Before HHJ Behrens.

    Aspden v Elvy [2012] EWHC 1387 (Ch)

    Dispute between an unmarried couple as to the beneficial ownership of a farm. The High Court found that Elizabeth's client, the female defendant, had a 75% beneficial interest. As she had consistently offered to settle on a 50/50 basis, the male claimant was ordered to pay her costs.

    Kay v. Mills [2005] EWCA Civ 1537

    Property dispute between father and daughter. Father sought possession of property purchased on trust by father and daughter upon trust for father's sole benefit. Defence based on proprietary estoppel. Successful application to the Court of Appeal against decision to strike out the defence.

    R (on the application of Ross) v. Leeds City Council [2005] EWHC 2495 (Admin)

    Judicial Review of the decision by the Defendant Council to refuse to provide funding for a school bus to transport Jewish children to schools in Manchester.

    Al Hawaz v. Thomas Cook Group [2000] All ER (D) 1568:

    Travellers cheque fraud; admissibility of similar fact evidence.

  • Notable Cases

    Bourne v Poznyak (2015): Birmingham County Court, Chancery Business

    Dispute between two former cohabitees regarding two properties owned by Elizabeth’s client. Elizabeth successfully argued on behalf of the owner that the claim should be dismissed and a costs order made against the Defendant.

    Radford v. Gwilliam (2009): Birmingham County Court, Chancery Business.

    Dispute between parents and their daughter and son-in-law as to ownership of property. The parents had invested the proceeds of sale of their home in constructing an annex to a property owned by their daughter and son-in-law. The parties then fell out.

    The parents brought a claim based on constructive trust and/or proprietary estoppel on the basis that they had a beneficial interest in the property or alternatively were entitled to compensation for the amount they had spent. The Court found for the parents and awarded them a lump sum in compensation.

    Dowson v. Riley (2009): Leeds County Court, Chancery Business.

    Representing male partner in a dispute concerning the former matrimonial home, a farm. Property purchased by the couple as joint tenants. Entirety of purchase monies, however, provided by the female partner's father. Matter settled by consent.

    Shaw v. McCormack (2007 -2008): High Court.

    Representing female partner in successful application for a freezing order against the male partner in respect of the proceeds of sale of the parties' former home. Male partner subsequently "disappearing". Successful TLATA proceedings in respect of the proceeds of sale.

    Bland v. Clapham (2006):

    Representing elderly couple seeking a declaration of a beneficial interest in a property owned by their daughter and son-in-law. Daughter and son-in-law divorced and son-in-law denied that the parents had any interest in the property. The parents had sold their previous home. The proceeds of sale were invested in the property and the father, a retired builder, had constructed an extension at the property and other improvements. Settled by consent.