Brief of Merritt v. Merritt

Brief of Merritt v. Merritt by Legum

Merritt v Merritt [1970] 1 WLR 1211

Material Facts:

Mr Merritt, living with another woman, agreed to grant sole ownership of a property he jointly acquired with Mrs Merritt if she pays off the balance on the mortgage for the property. Mrs Merritt paid off the balance, but Mr Merritt refused to transfer the property to her sole ownership.

Procedural History:

At the trial court, Mr Merritt was instructed to transfer the property to Mrs Merritt’s name. Mr Merritt appealed on grounds that the trial judge misdirected himself in holding that his agreement with Mrs Merritt was binding and enforceable.


1. Whether or not Mr Merritt’s agreement with Mrs Merritt created legal relations.


1. That the agreement between Mr and Mrs Merritt created legal relations.

Ratio Decidendi:

In the judgement of Lord Denning, the presumption that agreements between husband and wife is not legally binding did not apply in this case as Mr Merritt and Mrs Merritt were separated or about to separate as at the time of the agreement. In such instances, Lord Denning ruled that agreements between the parties does not rely on honourable understandings are made with the intention of creating legal relations.