Constructive or resulting trust?

Lee Koon Wan v Sherman Ngai Wing Lee ([2012] HKEC 1046, CFI) concerned a dispute between father and son as to the beneficial ownership of three properties. Title was in the son’s name but the father claimed that they were held on resulting or constructive trust. The court found that the father had paid for the properties and there was a clear understanding that the son would hold them on trust for his parents and, on their death, for himself and his brothers. The judge preferred to think of this as a constructive rather than a resulting trust (though he was clearly of the view that the elements of each were satisfied) ([53]). The resulting trust analysis clearly shows the primacy of the search for actual intention with the presumptions being considered but not playing any role in the analysis ([47]).

Michael Lower


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