Until Fraud Do Us Part: Reconciling Joint Tenancy and the Torrens Land System in Cassegrain v Gerard Cassegrain & Co Pty Ltd
In early 2015, the High Court of Australia decided Cassegrain v Gerard Cassegrain & Co Pty Ltd, relating to the fraudulent registration of a joint tenancy under Torrens legislation. The Court unanimously criticised the methods employed by lower courts in interpreting New South Wales’ Torrens legislation (and its ‘protection of purchasers’ provision) and in determining the existence and scope of an agency relationship. However, the Court split on the question of whether an innocent joint tenant had their interest rendered defeasible by reason of their co-joint tenant’s fraud. This article reviews and analyses in particular the Court’s evaluation and treatment of the legal principles of joint tenancy.
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