Matthew Hardwick QC and Miriam Schmelzer acted for both individual property developers and property development companies in successfully resisting a long running multi-million pound claim by Kuwaiti investors for an account in respect of 25 property investments in the UK and Morocco dating back to 1994.
Following a 3 week Chancery Division trial in January 2019 HHJ Hodge QC (sitting as a Judge of the High Court) (1) rejected the Claimants’ claim that the individual property developers were fiduciaries who owed a personal duty to account the investors; (2) rejected the claim for an account in respect of the same investment projects; and (3) rejected the Claimants’ claim for payment of sums contained in a number of bank accounts associated with the property investments, finding in favour of the Defendants on issues of (a) non est factum; (b) estoppel by deed; (c) mistake; and (d) the process of rectification by construction.
The judgment contains an up to date analysis of (1) when an ad hoc fiduciary duty may arise; (2) when a duty to account may arise (and associated issues of limitation and discretion); (3) the principle of rectification by construction; and (4) the defence of illegality (applying Patel v Mirza). Matthew and Miriam were instructed by Paul Humphreys of Lockett Loveday McMahon.
The judgment can be found here.