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Bruton v London and Quadrant Housing Trust: Opening Pandora's Box

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In Bruton, the House of Lords reached the surprising conclusion that a licensee of property could grant a lease of it. The decision is surprising given the orthodox understanding that the lease is an estate in land and can only be granted by someone with an estate in the same land out of which it can be carved. The article proposes three alternative bases that might explain the House of Lords decision. The House of Lords clearly espoused the first of these possible bases: that it is possible to create a lease that is a contract but not an estate in land. This is irreconcilable with other authorities that insist on the 'tenurial' nature of the lease. The other possible bases, discussed in the article are that there might have been a tenancy by estoppel and, third, that Bruton's rights depended on the possession that he undoubtedly enjoyed. This justification relies on the idea of the relativity of title.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.

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