Bank of Cyprus UK Ltd v Menelaou: SC 4 Nov 2015

The bank customers, now appellants, redeemed a mortgage over their property, and the property was transferred to family members, who in turn borrowed from the same lender. A bank employee simply changed the name on the mortgage. This was ineffective to give the bank a charge, and the bank obtained a remedy through the law of unjust enrichment. The customers appealed.
Held: The appeal failed. The issue ws whether the landowner had been enriched at the expense of the bank, and the answer was plainly that she had. There had been only one overall schem, eand the causal connection between the loss suffered by the bank, and the benefit accruing to the original claimant was clear. Subrogation is a restitutionary remedy which reverses unjust enrichment, and to establish unjust enrichment four questions must be asked. Has the defendant been enriched? Was the enrichment at the claimant’s expense? Was the enrichment unjust? Are there any defences available to the defendant? The bank was to be subrogated to he unpaid seller’s lien which would have the effect of reinstating the charge. Subrogation is a broad and flexible remedy, and in this particular case, no more appropriate way forward was available.


Lord Neuberger, President, Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath


[2015] UKSC 66, [2015] 3 WLR 1334, [2016] AC 176, [2015] WLR(D) 438, UKSC 2013/0171


Bailii, WLRD, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary


England and Wales


CitedBanque Financiere De La Cite v Parc (Battersea) Ltd and Others HL 16-Apr-1998
The making of an order for restitution after finding an unjust enrichment by subrogation, is not dependant upon having found any common or unilateral intention of the parties. The House distinguished between contractual subrogation of the kind most . .
At First InstanceMenelaou v Bank of Cyprus Plc ChD 19-Jul-2012
On the sale of the claimant’s property, the solicitors received agreement by the defendant bank to the release of their charge over the property for a certainsum, being less than the loan outstanding. In the course of discharging the loan, a bank . .
CitedInvestment Trust Companies v HM Revenue and Customs ChD 2-Mar-2012
The claimant had properly accounted for VAT on its transactions for many years, but a decision of the European court had latterly ruled that the services were exempt. The claimant sought restitution from HMRC, who responded by arguing that . .
See AlsoMenelaou v Bank of Cyprus UK Ltd CA 4-Jul-2013
The court set out answers to consequential questions raised by their judgment, and the form of declaration required. . .
CitedBenedetti v Sawiris and Others SC 17-Jul-2013
The claimant appealed against reduction of the sum awarded on his claim for a quantum meruit after helping to facilitate a very substantial business deal for the defendants.
Held: The correct approach to the amount to be paid by way of a . .
CitedBuhr v Barclays Bank plc CA 26-Jan-2001
The bank took a second charge over property, but failed to get it registered. The chargors fell into debt and bankruptcy, and the property was sold. The proceeds were used to discharge the first charge, and then repay unsecured creditors. The bank . .
CitedFilby v Mortgage Express (No 2) Limited CA 22-Jun-2004
Mr and Mrs Filby’s matrimonial home was charged to the Halifax. They also had an unsecured loan with the Midland Bank. Mr Filby sought to remortgage the matrimonial home with Mortgage Express. The mortgage advance was paid to solicitors who used . .
CitedChetwynd v Allen 1899
A lender M advanced pounds 1,200 to pay off an existing mortgage held by T over a property owned by the plaintiff. M made the advance on the basis of certain misleading representations and non-disclosures by the plaintiff’s husband. M was told that . .
CitedButler v Rice 1910
The wife owned a Bristol property and a Cardiff property subject to a andpound;450 charge in favour of a bank with whom the title deeds had been deposited. The husband asked the plaintiff to lend him andpound;450 to pay off the mortgage. The . .
CitedFilby v Mortgage Express (No 2) Limited CA 22-Jun-2004
Mr and Mrs Filby’s matrimonial home was charged to the Halifax. They also had an unsecured loan with the Midland Bank. Mr Filby sought to remortgage the matrimonial home with Mortgage Express. The mortgage advance was paid to solicitors who used . .
CitedBurston Finance Ltd v Spierway Ltd ChD 1974
The lender took a charge over a property held by a company which subsequently became void because it was not registered within the required period at Companies House.
Held: A voidable charge is a valid charge unless and until set aside: . .
CitedOrakpo v Manson Investments Ltd HL 1977
Transactions were entered into under which loans were made to enable the borrower to acquire and develop certain properties were held to be unenforceable under the 1927 Act. The effect was to enrich the borrower, who had fallen into arrears of . .
CitedBoscawen and Others v Bajwa and Others; Abbey National Plc v Boscawen and Others CA 10-Apr-1995
The defendant had charged his property to the Halifax. Abbey supplied funds to secure its discharge, but its own charge was not registered. It sought to take advantage of the Halifax’s charge which had still not been removed.
Held: A mortgagee . .
Appeal fromMenelaou v Bank of Cyprus UK Ltd CA 19-Jun-2013
The Court was asked questions about the law of unjust enrichment, and one of the remedies which may be granted to reverse the effect of unjust enrichment, namely subrogation to an unpaid vendor’s lien. The bank had released its charges over property . .
CitedFoskett v McKeown and Others HL 18-May-2000
A property developer using monies which he held on trust to carry out a development instead had mixed those monies with his own in his bank account, and subsequently used those mixed monies to pay premiums on a life assurance policy on his own life, . .
CitedBarclays Bank Plc v Estates and Commercial Limited CA 20-Feb-1996
Millett LJ discussed the assertion of a vendor’s lien where a third party would be adversely affected: ‘A party with an equitable charge can be taken to agree to the postponement of his property against any party who was allowed to his knowledge to . .
CitedFutter and Another v Revenue and Customs; Pitt v Same SC 9-May-2013
Application of Hastings-Bass Rule
F had created two settlements. Distributions were made, but overlooking the effect of section 2(4) of the 2002 Act, creating a large tax liability. P had taken advice on the investment of the proceeds of a damages claim and created a discretionary . .

Cited by:

CitedRevenue and Customs v The Investment Trust Companies SC 11-Apr-2017
Certain investment trust companies (ITCs) sought refunds of VAT paid on the supply of investment management services. EU law however clarified that they were not due. Refunds were restricted by the Commissioners both as to the amounts and limitation . .
CitedLowick Rose Llp v Swynson Ltd and Another SC 11-Apr-2017
Losses arose from the misvaluation of a company before its purchase. The respondent had funded the purchase, relying upon a valuation by the predecessor of the appellant firm of accountants. Further advances had been made when the true situation was . .
CitedScott v Bridge and Others ChD 25-Nov-2020
Claim to recover money and property said to have been transferred by the claimant to the defendants or one or more of them. The money concerned came from a bank account belonging to the claimant. The property concerned consisted of two . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Equity

Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.554249