Requisitions concerning the identity of the seller

Chan Hei Leung Thomson v Kuo Yu Chien ([2012] HKEC 1255, DC) was a vendor and purchaser summons. The question was whether two of the buyer’s requisitions had been answered satisfactorily.

The first requisition concerned the identity of the seller. In the 2007 assignment to him he was identified by reference to his Taiwanese passport number. His 2012 agreement to sell the property identified him by reference to his Hong Kong ID number. There was also a suggestion of some differences between his signature on the two documents. The buyers sought a statutory declaration to confirm that the 2007 buyer and the 2012 seller was one and the same. This was not necessary in the circumstances. The same firm of solicitors (and the same person within the firm) had acted in both transactions and they were willing to confirm that the 2012 seller was the same as the 2007 buyer. This was sufficient; there was no real risk of a third party coming forward claiming to be the true owner ([8]):

‘In my view, approaching the matter from the stand-point of a willing purchaser and a willing vendor, both possessed of reasonably robust common sense and both intending to complete the transaction … the plaintiffs ought to have been satisfied that the defendant has satisfactorily answered any concern that they may have in respect of the defendant in the two instruments.’ ([14])

The second requisition asked for certain pre-intermediate root of title documents. The buyers argued that the sellers had not identified the document that was to be regarded as the intermediate root. The court held that the sellers had no duty to teach the buyer’s solicitors how to identify an intermediate root of title ([18]).

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