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The Doctrine of Unilateral Severance and its Potential Development in Singapore

Koh Zhi Jia

(2023) 35 SAcLJ 31

Co-ownership of land is commonplace in Singapore, and the manner of holding among co-owners has important practical implications. Joint tenants are subject to the rule of survivorship, but what if a joint tenant does not wish to be locked into the survivorship wheel of fortune? A joint tenant may unilaterally sever the joint tenancy by an act operating upon his or her share of the land, but questions remain as to when that occurs and the consequent duration of severance. This article attempts to address these questions with the current alienation-based approach and suggest the possibility of an intention-based approach.