Equitable Interests

Any interest or right that is recognised by the courts of Equity, as distinct from a legal interst recognised by the courts of common law (for instance an interest under a trust) is called an Equitable interest.

An Equitable interest arises where there is an interest in a property, although the party with the interest does not possess a legal title. This kind of interest is usually defeated by a legal title. A Legal title is the true and enforceable ownership of a property. This cannot easily be overridden, except for when an equitable interest exists.

An equitable interest in land may be expressly created, inferred or imposed by a court. It does not transfer legal ownership of the property, it simply gives the individual or entity the right to use and also enjoy the property. Equitable interest as a beneficiary of a trust can be contrasted to a trustee’s legal interest in the trust property. 

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