Death does not bring an end to obligation to repay loan; deliberate concealment can prevent time running for limitation purposes

In Lam Ching Sheung v P.R. of the Estate of Tam Shui ([2013] HKEC 294, CFI) L made a loan to TS and her husband (D2). This was not repaid and an oral agreement was entered into in 1999. L agreed to forebear from bringing legal proceedings in return for TS and D2’s agreement to pay interest to a third party and, in due course, to repay the principal. TS died in 2000. In 2001, D2 assured L that the interest payments to the third party were being made. L only discovered that this was not the case in November 2005. It was held that time did not start to run until November 2005 (rather than 1999) because of D2’s deliberate concealment of the true position (see section 26(1) of the Limitation Ordinance) ([56]).

The court also held that TS’s death did not end her liability under the oral agreement and that the claim could be brought against her estate (see Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) Ordinance, s.20) ([62]).

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