Matthew Hardwick QC and Miriam Schmelzer act for successful defendants in property investment accounting claim

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.