Corin v Patton (1990) 169 CLR 540

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  • A man and woman owned a property as joint tenants
  • The woman became ill and wanted to give her share to her brother
  • She executed the memorandum of transfer but did not get the title deed
  • When she died, the husband asserted his ownership
  • The brother argued he had an equitable interest via the assignment


  • Did Ms Patton successfully assign the transfer of property?


  • It was not valid because Ms Patton had not done all that was necessary to effect the transfer.
  • But may acquire an equitable interest.
  • However, equity will not perfect an imperfect gift.
  • The woman had not done enough to effect the transfer.
  • Donor must have done everything necessary to give effect to the transfer; must ‘arm’ the transferee.
  • Ms Patton had failed to lodge the memorandum with a duplicate Certificate of Title and did not tell bank that she was transferring property to Corrin and request a duplicate to allow Corrin to lodge the documents at the Lands Titles Office. 
  • Ms Patton failed to alienate interest and transfer it in equity.

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