IT seems to have been a common opinion in early times that a court of equity would give no assistance against a purchaser for value without notice.
But, in Phillips v. Phillips (1861), which at once became, and has since continued to be, the leading authority upon this subject, this doctrine, which Mr. Sugden strenuously defended to the last, was definitively rejected. Lord Westbury, in his opinion, arranged the cases in which the plea of purchase for value would be a bar to equitable relief in three classes: (1) When an application is made to the auxiliary jurisdiction of the court. As illustrations under this class were mentioned bills for discovery and bills for the surrender of title-deeds belonging to the plaintiff. (2.) Where one who purchased an equitable interest in property, without notice of a prior equitable incumbrance of the plaintiff, has subsequently got in the outstanding legal title. This was the doctrine of tabula in naufragio. (3.) When a plaintiff seeks to charge a purchaser with “an equity as distinguished from an equitable estate, as, for example, an equity to set aside a deed for
- Stanhope v. Verney, 2 Eden, 81, 85, per Lord Henley; Jerrard v. Saunders, 2 Ves., J. 454, per Lord Loughborough; Wallwyn v. Lee, 9 Ves. 24, per Lord Eldon; Payne v. Compton, 2 Y. & C. Ex. 457, per Lord Abriger; Attorney-General v. Wilkins, 17 Beav. 285, per Sir John Romilly; Gomm v. Parrott, 3 C.B., n. s. 47.
- 4 D., F., & J. 208.
- Sugden, V. & P. (14 ed.) 791–798.