Ralph v Given  EWHC 2395 (KB)
Published: 23/09/2022 09:00
Freedman J. Claimant’s application for summary judgment in relation to application to deliver up an Aston Martin DBX and a Range Rover Sport or damages for conversion. C argued these were gifts. The claimant (C) and defendant (D) were engaged, but separated prior to marriage. According to C, the vehicles were leased by a finance company to him and therefore he could not have conferred legal title on D. His secondary position was that even if there had been an intention to make a gift, it was conditional on marriage. Third, reliance was placed on the case of Spellman v Spellman  1 WLR 921 which also concerned the gift of a care on hire purchase. D argued she was the absolute owner of the DBX and claimed damages for deceit on the basis that C falsely represented his ownership of the DBX and his ability to make an outright gift of it. C also relied on Spellman.
The court considered that Spellman could be differentiated on the facts in relation to intention to create legal relations between the parties. D had a real prospect of success in arguing that C had conferred the entitlement to possession or the use of the DBX and was not entitled to resile from this and that C had conferred an equitable assignment of the hire purchase agreement to D or held the rights under the agreement on trust for D. In relation to the counter-claim for deceit, the temporary cessation of the relationship because of D’s concerns about C’s contact with a former fiancée was relevant. It was not possible absent a trial to appraise how significant the gift of the DBX was in the decision of D to agree to marriage. Summary judgment in respect of the claim must fail.
The court also considered the application for summary judgment relating to the Range Rover Sport (RRS). Given the various different ways that the claim was put in relation to the RRS, the court felt that the various counterclaims were so interlocked and factually controversial that it was appropriate to leave this to trial. The court thus dismissed the summary judgment applications, commenting that D had at lowest a real prospect of success in fact and in law both in defending C’s claims and in maintaining her counterclaims. It was potentially undesirable and even hazardous to look at various strands of the case separately from the whole.