Christopher Jones was instructed by Tim Russ of Roythornes Solicitors, and led by Stephen Jourdan KC, to represent Michael Spencer in his farming proprietary estoppel claim.  Michael’s claim was based upon promises made to him by his late father, John Spencer, that he would inherit the 400 acre family farm.  Michael had positioned his entire life on the promises, and dedicated his time to working at the farm and helping John build a very successful business.  Shortly before John died, he changed his will leaving the farm to a discretionary trust for his children and grandchildren.

The Judge, Rajah J, accepted Michael’s case that as a result of the promises made to him, and the detriment he suffered in reliance upon them, it was unconscionable for John not to leave the farm to Michael.  Since John’s death planning permission had been obtained to extract minerals from certain fields on the farm, which significantly increased their value.  The Judge made a provisional award for a transfer of the freehold land to Michael, excluding the quarry land, and for the payment to Michael of a sum of money representing the agricultural value of that quarry land.