In this family farming case, a daughter brought a claim for proprietary estoppel, and, in the alternative, unjust enrichment based on the work she had done in securing planning permission for residential development of some of the property.
She claimed to have worked over several years with the knowledge and encouragement of her mother and brothers to secure the land’s release from green belt designation, on the basis that she would receive a one sixth share of the £8.7m eventual sale price.
The mother responded that she had simply promised to look after her children financially. She referred to her power to split the sale proceeds and was never specific about the share she hoped to pass to them.
The judge found the promises made by the mother to her daughter were too vague and therefore the claim failed. However, the judge awarded £652,500 to the daughter for unjust enrichment on the basis she had provided services similar to a land promoter paid on commission (discounted to reflect, amongst other things, that she was not a professional adviser).