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Split decision

The ruling in Jones v Kernott provides some clarity but far from shuts the door to future cohabitation disputes

10 December 2011

The long running saga of Jones v Kernott finally came to an end in November 2011, after some three years of litigation, appearances before four levels of courts and the opinions, indeed judgments, of some ten judges, ranging from the original trial judge at Southend-on-Sea County Court to judges sitting in the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. Family lawyers have been poring over the judgment of Lord Walker and Lady Hale, Lord Collins, Lord Kerr and Sir Nicholas Wilson – who unanimously allowed the appeal of Ms Jones and restored the original decision reached in Essex – whereby Mr Kernott, a joint owner of the family home, retained a ten per cent interest after seeking 50 per cent. Neither Jones nor Kernott can possibly have foreseen the level of interest the disintegration of their relationship and subsequent property dispute would result in.

Muddy waters

The final judgm...

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