This section is from the book "Dart's Treatise On The Law And Practice Relating To Vendors And Purchasers Of Real Estate", by J. Henry Dart . Also available from Amazon: A treatise on the law and practice relating to vendors and purchasers of real estate.
Seale, (1855) 19 Beav. 601 ; 24 L. J. Ch. 385.
(x) See Davies v. Cooper, (1840) 5 M. & C. 270; Valentine v. Dickinson, (1861) 7 Jur. N. S. 857; and see inf. p. 1096.
(y) Harrison v. Guest, (1860) 8 H. L. C. 481.
(s) Harrison v. Guest, sup.
(a) Chirk v. Malpas, (1862) 31 Beav. 80; 10W. R. 677.
(b) Prees r. Coke, (1871) 6 Ch. 645. But this case was based on the special obligation of the solicitor to his client.
(c) Summers v. Griffiths, (1866) 35 Beav. 27.
But until the Sales of Reversions Act, 1867, which came into force on the 1st Jan., 1868, there was a well-recognized distinction between sales of estates in possession and estates in reversion : and on sales of the latter description, if effected by private contract, mere inadequacy of consideration would enable the Court to decree a re-conveyance : and the onus probandi did not, as in ordinary cases, rest with the plaintiff seeking to impeach the sale, but with the defendant who upheld it (g) ; except where the vendor himself fixed the price, and there were no special circumstances (h). The operation of the Act is strictly limited to abolishing the rule that mere inadequacy of consideration is sufficient to set aside the sale of a reversion : so that wherever mere inadequacy is not the only ground the old case law is still applicable (/).
Distinction in cases of reversionary interests.
Onus probandi formerly on purchaser.
Except where vendor fixed the price.
The rule was held to apply equally where the transaction was a mortgage or charge, and not an absolute sale (k) ; and it was not material that the reversioner was of mature age, and fully cognizant of the nature and effect of the transaction (/) ; nor was it necessary for him to show that at the time he was in pecuniary distress (m) ; and, notwithstanding the most perfect good faith, the transaction might be set aside, unless full value was given (n).
The rule applied where the transaction was a mortgage.
(d) Baker v. Monk, (1864) 33 Beav. 419; 10 Jur. N. S. G91.
(e) Haygarth v. Wearing, (1871) 12 Eq. 320; 40 L. J. Ch. 577.
(f) Fry v. Lane, (1888) 40 Ch. D. 312; 58 L. J. Ch. 113. See also James v. Kerr, (1889) 40 Ch. D. 449, 459, 4G0 ; 58 L. J. Ch. 355.
(g) See Coles v. Trecothick, (1804)9 Ves. 234, 246 ; Gowland v. Be Faria, (1810) 17 Ves. 20, 24 ; Eincksman v. Smith, (1827) 3 Rus. 433 ; Kendall v.
Beckett, (1830) 2 R, & M. at p. 90 ; 9 L.J. (O. S.) Ch. 24; Addis Y.Campbell, (1839) 1 Beav. at p. 262; 8 L. J. N. S. 305.
(h) Perfect v. Lane, (1861) 3 D. F. & J. 369; 31 L. J. Ch. 489.
(i) See inf. p. 755.
(k) Bromley v. Smith, (1859) 26 Beav. 644; 29 L. J. Ch. 18 ; Tottenham v. Green, (1863) 32 L. J. Ch. 201.
The relief was afforded where a small part of the property was in possession and the bulk was reversionary (o) : in one case, where the value of the property in possession was 1,331l., and of that in reversion only 312/., the purchase was nevertheless set aside for undervalue (p) ; but the rule did not apply where the tenant for life concurred with the immediate reversioner, so that the sale was, in effect, of an estate in possession (q) ; nor where the sale was made by a vendor entitled to what was, substantially, an estate in possession, and to the ultimate reversion, subject only to an intervening life estate (r) ; nor where the contract was entered into between a tenant and the person entitled to the reversion and to the rents during the term (s) ; nor where the transaction was in the nature of a family arrangement (t) ; nor where the sale was of a life estate in possession, subject to rent-charges which absorbed nearly all the income (u).
What interests are reversionary within the rule.
The relief was more sparingly afforded where the reversion was subject to an almost incalculable contingency ; as where it was expectant on the death, without issue, of a tenant for life aged sixty-three and unmarried (a?) : but the fact that the reversion was dependent upon contingencies, which could not he estimated by actuaries, did not relieve the purchaser from the burden of showing that full value was given (y).
Where value depends on incalculable contingencies.
(I) See note (k) sup. ; Emmet v. Tottenham, (1864) 10 Jur. N. S. 1090.
(m) Bromley v. Smith, sup.
(n) St. Albyn v. Harding, (1859) 27 Beav. 11; Foster v. Roberts, (1861)29 Beav. 467; see also Salter v. Brad-shaw, (1858) 26 Beav. 161.
(o) Lord Tortmore v. Taylor, (1831) 4 Si. 182.
(p) Nesbitt v. Berridge, (1863) 32 Beav. 282 ; 9 Jur. N. S. 1044.
(q) Wood v. Abrey, (1818) 3 Mad. 417 ; see Cooke v. Burtchaell, (1842) 2 D. & War. 165 ; and Sibbering v. Earl of Balcarres, (1850) 3 De G. & S. 735.
(r) Wardle v. Carter, (1835) 7 Si. 490.
(s) Scott v. Dunbar, (1828) 1 Moll. 442, 459.
(t) Talbot v. Staniforth, (1861) 1 J. & H. 484.
(u) Webster v. Cook, (1867) 2 Ch. 542. But this case has been adversely criticised, on the ground that it was in effect the sale of a reversion; Tyler v. Yates, (1870) 11 Eq. at p. 276; and see Helsham v. Burnett, (1872) 21 W. R. 309 ; Eowley v. Cook, (1873) 8 I. R. Eq. 570.
(x) Baker v. Bent, (1830) 1 R. & M. 224 ; and see Whichcote v. Bramston,
And the relief was afforded, not only to the mere owners of reversionary interests (z), but also to heirs or devisees in remainder (a) dealing with their mere expectancies (b); though an extraordinary protection was afforded to the latter classes of vendors (c). A distinction would, however, probably have been drawn between the owner of a reversion claiming by descent, devise, or settlement, and one who had himself acquired it by ordinary sale and purchase.
Relief was given to owners of reversions as well as to expectant heirs ;
And where a person bought a reversion, at a gross undervalue, from an heir in distressed circumstances, and re-sold it at a large profit to a sub-purchaser who had full notice of the original fraud, and the reversioner, being still in distress, was induced, by the original purchaser, to join in and confirm the re-sale, and to concur in suffering recoveries which were necessary to perfect the title, but nothing was paid or secured to him as a consideration for such concurrence, the transand afforded against subpurchaser with notice, notwithstanding voluntary confirmation by reversioner.