KUMAR ANTON ROHITHA BULATHWELA v (1) EDWARD THOMAS (2) ANN NILSSON (JOINT TRUSTEES IN THE BANKRUPTCY OF RANI MALATHI SAMARAKKAODI BULATHWELA) (2019)
 EWHC 1947 (Ch)
Ch D (Snowden J) 20/05/2019
INSOLVENCY – REAL PROPERTY
BANKRUPTCY : BENEFICIAL INTERESTS : LEGAL CHARGES : WITNESS STATEMENTS
The court granted permission to appeal against a district judge’s finding that the applicant did not have a beneficial interest in a property that was registered in his wife’s sole name. The judge had not properly dealt with the implications of a charge against the property in favour of the Legal Services Commission that had been executed by both the husband and wife.
The applicant husband applied for permission to appeal against a county court decision that a property was solely owned by his wife and that he had no beneficial interest in it.
The property was purchased in 2004 and was registered in the wife’s sole name. The wife was subsequently made bankrupt. The respondents were her trustees in bankruptcy. The husband claimed that he had a beneficial interest in the property, primarily because he had contributed towards the deposit and the mortgage. The district judge had no documentary evidence to support those assertions, only the wife’s similar assertions. The only documentary evidence considered more specifically was a charge executed over the property in favour of the Legal Services Commission (LSC), executed by both the husband and wife. The district judge found that the terms of the mortgage deed were insufficient to establish an inferred common intention on the part of the parties.
The husband argued that the district judge had erred in her analysis of the evidence, and applied to admit a witness statement from the parties’ daughter.
HELD: Analysis of evidence – There was a real prospect of establishing that the district judge ought to have dealt more fairly with the parties’ evidence and the implications to be derived from the LSC charge.
Witness statement – The form of the witness statement was inadequate. It consisted of unattributed assertions and statements of legal conclusion. It did not fulfil the second and third criteria of the Ladd v Marshall test as being evidence which probably had an important influence on the result of the case and which was apparently credible. There was no material before the court to explain why that material, which plainly could have been available at the hearing before the district judge, was not relied upon at the time. Permission for admission of the witness statement was refused. Any further application for similar or other evidence should be made within a limited timescale, for which the instant court gave directions.
For the appellant: Arfan Khan
For the respondent: No appearance or representation
For the appellant: DCK Solicitors