Elizabeth Darlington MCIArb

Year of Call: 1998

Practice Overview

Elizabeth specialises in property and family finance cases. Her practice focuses on the financial consequences of relationship breakdown (whether marriage or cohabitation) and property disputes between family members generally. Elizabeth practices in both the chancery and family jurisdictions. She is recognised as an expert in applications involving cohabitees (including under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989). She regularly appears in both the Business and Property Court and the Family Court. 

She is the author of a number of highly regarded practioner texts including Cohabitation and Trusts of Land with Laura Heaton and edited by His Honour Judge Wildblood QC, published by Sweet and Maxwell, now in its 3rd edition (2016). She is the General Editor of Cohabitation: Law and Precedents, published by Sweet and Maxwell. This publication is up-dated twice a year and includes a number of expert contributors.

Elizabeth regularly publishes articles in leading journals on her areas of expertise. Her most recent article: 'Challenging a TR1 express declaration of trust: Setting the record straight' co-authored with Chris Bevan, Associate Professor of Property Law at Nottingham University, published in Family Law in March/April 2019.

She is regularly invited to speak at both national and regional conferences including the Family Law Bar Association, Resolution, White Paper and in-house for top-tier solicitors' firms.

Elizabeth is an approved Pupil Supervisor. Her previous pupils include Elliot Kay and Kelly Cronin who are currently tenants at Zenith Chambers, Leeds.

She accepts instructions on a Direct Access basis.

  • 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").

  • Notable Cases

    Ladwa v Chapman (2018) - application by Claimant for an order for sale and 50% of the proceeds.

    Property had been transferred into the joint names of the Defendant and Claimant after purchase. Counterclaim to set aside the transfer on the grounds of undue influence. Received press coverage in The Times and other newspapers.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

  • What the Directories Say

    Elizabeth has been consistently recommended in both Chambers and Partners as a leading individual and the Legal 500.

    "She is absolutely excellent at cohabitation disputes. She wrote the book and knows all there is to know." Band 2 - Chambers and Partners, 2021

    "Her knowledge about cohabitation is excellent, but the real strength is the ability to apply that and come to a pragmatic and sensible outcome." Band 2 - Chambers and Partners, 2021

    "Beth’s legal expertise in relation to TOLATA cases is second to none in our region. Beth is quickly able to get to the crux of the issues involved and build a rapport with the client. She works tirelessly to assist the client to achieve a settlement and avoid lengthy and expensive court proceedings and provides pragmatic advice." Tier 1 - Legal 500, 2021

    "Easy to work with, clever and insightful. She is thorough, engaging and good at presenting information to clients and in court.' 'An extremely capable advocate who has an excellent bedside manner with clients.'" Chambers UK 2019