Singapore: pleading express trust and resulting trust at the same time

The Singaporean case of Tee Yok Kiat v Pang Min Seng ([2012] SGHC 85) concerned payments made by a businesswoman to a contractor. She made payments to him on the basis, she alleged, that they would be applied by him in the purchase of certain properties. She alleged that, in breach of trust, he had kept the money for himself. She relied on there either being an express trust or a resulting trust. She did not explain which kind of resulting trust she had in mind; the court decided that she was alleging the existence of a Quistclose trust. The court decided that it was permissible in this case to allow these alternative pleadings. Each could arise from the same pleaded facts; there was no need to allege two inconsistent sets of facts. She was ‘essentially relying on the same factual matrix.’ ([33]). Both claims failed since the court thought, on the balance of probabilities, that she had made a gift of the money to the contractor.

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