Promises, Promises...Family Farms and Estoppel (Again)

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Family farms are a fertile source of litigation, especially when it comes to succession planning and inter-generational transfers. The problems are obvious: large value assets, emotional ties to the land, a lack of retirement planning and the ‘older’ generation’s unwillingness to relinquish control, and managing the expectations of siblings or others who have worked on the farm. Recent years have seen a spate of estoppel cases involving farms in both Northern Ireland and England and Wales, brought by children, nephews, close friends and long-term partners who were promised or had expected to inherit farms. The recent decision of the English Court of Appeal in Davies v Davies is another example, this time involving an adult daughter who had worked on her parents’ farm for years in the belief that it would pass to her. When her parents changed their minds, this particular daughter brought a successful proprietary estoppel claim. The issue then turned to satisfying the claim, and what financial remedy the daughter was entitled to.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-40
Number of pages4
JournalFolio: Northern Ireland Conveyancing and Land Law Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2016


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