Here court explored interpretation of s53(1)(c) in
relation to agreements to assign equitable interests for consideration.
Mrs O and her son both held interests in a trust of private
Agreed that Mrs O would acquire the entire beneficial
interest in return for her transferring a block of separate shares to her son.
Mrs O and her son executed deed declaring Mrs O now
had entire beneficial interest.
Trustees then formally transferred the legal title to
If Mrs O already owned the shares in equity by virtue
of a constructive trust when they were formally transferred to her, then she
would avoid stamp duty.
House of Lords did not accept this argument – stamp
duty would be payable.
Basically a policy decision.
Lord Radcliffe took dissenting view and believed Mrs O
became equitable owner of the interest in the shares by virtue of the
specifically enforceable agreement of exchange.
She became the absolute owner in equity.