Property acquired in contemplation of marriage

In Tsun Kok Chung Richard v Lee Chun Yu ([2016] HKEC 1482, CFI) P and D intended to get married. P bought a flat to be the matrimonial home and it was conveyed into the names of P and D as joint tenants. P alone paid the deposits and part of the purchase price. He was also solely responsible for repaying the loan taken out to cover the balance of the purchase price. D soon changed her mind about marrying P and moved out. The couple did not marry. P asked D to her to transfer her interest in the property to him. When she refused to do so, he brought proceedings seeking to compel her to make the transfer to him. P succeeded. The primary reason for the acquisition of the property was the intention that it should be the matrimonial home (Anderson Chow J at [80]). P did not intend an outright gift of a share of the purchase price to her. The intention was to make a gift to her that was conditional on marriage ([90]).  Anderson Chow J. referred to the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Ian Hung Wai v Cheung Sau Kuen ([2011] 3 HKLRD 458 at [19] – [20]) and to section 25 of the Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) Ordinance for the law concerning conditional gifts made by parties to an agreement to marry. Since the marriage did not take place the condition had not been satisfied. D was ordered to transfer her interest in the property to P ([94]).

Michael Lower

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