A-G for Hong Kong v Reid

The Attorney General for Hong Kong v Reid (New Zealand) (UKPC) [1993] UKPC 2 [1993] UKPC 1993_36 was a New Zealand-originated trust law case heard and decided by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, where it was held that bribe money accepted by a person in a position of trust, can be traced into any property bought and is held on constructive trust for the beneficiary.[1]

The Attorney General for Hong Kong v Reid
(New Zealand)
(UKPC)
Hongkong 1980 (View from Peak).jpg
CourtJudicial Committee of the Privy Council
Full case nameThe Attorney General for Hong Kong v Charles Warwick Reid
(New Zealand)
(UKPC)
([1993] UKPC 2)

The Attorney General for Hong Kong v (1) Charles Warwick Reid and Judith Margaret Reid and (2) Marc Molloy
(New Zealand)
(UKPC)
([1993] UKPC 36)
Decided1 November 1993
Citation(s)[1993] UKPC 2,
[1993] UKPC 36
([1994] 1 AC 324,
[1994] 1 All ER 1)
Transcript(s)Full transcript on bailii.org
Full transcript on bailii.org
Court membership
Judge(s) sittingLord Templeton
Lord Goff of Chieveley
Lord Lowry
Lord Lloyd of Berwick
Sir Thomas Eichelbaum
Keywords
  • Constructive trustee
  • breach of trust
  • bribery
The case originated from New Zealand as an appeal from the Court of Appeal of New Zealand, Wellington.

After a period of legal uncertainty, this case was finally and unquestionably accepted and adopted into domestic English jurisprudence by the UK Supreme Court in FHR European Ventures LLP v Cedar Capital Partners LLC [2014] UKSC 45.

FactsEdit

Mr Charles Warwick Reid was a New Zealand citizen who was employed as a Hong Kong Deputy Crown Prosecutor and then Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, so in a fiduciary relationship with the Hong Kong government. He took bribes to obstruct prosecution of some criminals, and used the money to buy land in New Zealand. Some was kept by Mr Reid and his wife, Mrs Judith Margaret Reid, some conveyed to Reid’s solicitor. The Hong Kong government argued the land was held on trust for them.

AdviceEdit

The Privy Council advised the bribe money received by Reid, and the land acquired after, was held on constructive trust for the Hong Kong government. This meant that the land bought by Reid and his wife was held on trust, and had to be given over to the Hong Kong government. This was held to be necessary to ensure that people in positions of trust could in no way profit from their wrongdoing. If the property was badly invested, the fiduciary in breach would still be under a duty to make good the shortfall. Lord Templeman delivered the advice of the Board.[2]

Lord Goff, Lord Lowry, Lord Lloyd and Sir Thomas Eichelbaum concurred.

SignificanceEdit

In Sinclair Investments (UK) Ltd v Versailles Trade Finance Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 347 the Court of Appeal declined to rely on this particular case from the Privy Council as precedent and instead preferred the original English legal position set out in Lister & Co v Stubbs (1890) LR 45 Ch D 1. However the Court of Appeal judgement was partially overturned by FHR European Ventures LLP v Cedar Capital Partners LLC [2014] UKSC 45.

Subsequent eventsEdit

Reid served a four-year prison sentence for the criminal charges relating to the bribes, after which he was deported to his native New Zealand. Although he was barred from practising as a lawyer, he set up a legal consultancy in 2013 which provoked anger in both New Zealand and Hong Kong.[3][4]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Irving, Rebecca (1999). Student Companion, Equity - Trusts and Wills (2nd ed.). Butterworths. ISBN 0-408-71557-X.
  2. ^ [1994] 1 AC 324, 331
  3. ^ "Fury as corrupt ex-Hong Kong prosecutor Warwick Reid sets up new legal firm". South China Morning Post. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Disgraced lawyer Warwick Reid's role as advocate causes outrage". The New Zealand Herald. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2017.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit