Hi there, a court would very closely look at any claims that such an amount was given as a gift because of t being rather large. It is rare for people to just give gifts of that scale so a certain degree of scrutiny will be expected to determine whether this was indeed a gift or not. You do not need a formal loan agreement to have this treated as a loan – it could have been a loan simply based on what was agreed verbally between you and your intentions at the time. So it will come down to your personal witness evidence.
When it comes to assessing factual disputes, where it is essentially one person’s word against another’s, the courts have developed certain tests that would be applied that would help them decide how much weight to attach to each side's evidence. As a general rule, the following are some of the more widely used tests:
· Demeanour - includes matters such as a person’s conduct, manner, bearing, behaviour, delivery and inflexion. They are matters of impression, which are not necessarily revealed by reading a transcript of evidence. It is the more 'personal' side of the individual providing the evidence
· Inconsistency – mainly to do with any apparent inconsistencies in a person’s evidence
· Probability – this would ask of the evidence as a whole, or of a particular part of it: whose account is more probable in the circumstances?
So the courts will apply these or other similar tests in coming to a decision that they believe is fair in the circumstances. That does not mean it is factually the right one, but what has been judged to be the fairest outcome based on all available information.
As to forcing you to sell the house, that may not actually happen – this is not a secured loan which is charged against the property so he cannot automatically force you to do this and a court will very rarely force someone out of their house to repay a loan, so do not worry too much about this at this stage but you will have to potentially have to defend a claim if it proceeds.