Gift in contemplation of marriage and resulting trust

In Lai Chung Ming v Fung Kar Luen Candy ([2011] HKEC 1633) P and D intended to get married. To provide his much younger intended bride with security, P transferred the title to a flat which was to be the matrimonial home to D. The relationship broke down before the marriage could take place and P asked D to re-convey the title back to him. D orally agreed with P to transfer the property back to him in return for $80,000 to cover her wasted expenses in preparing for the wedding. P made the payment but D refused to convey the title back to P. P sought to recover full legal and beneficial ownership. He argued that no gift had been intended and that the property was held on resulting trust for him. In the alternative, he sought to enforce the oral agreement relying on his payment of $80,000 as an act of part performance. He succeeded on both grounds and obtained an order vesting the legal and beneficial interest in the property in him.

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