Chettiar v Chettiar: PC 14 Feb 1962

(Malaya) A father, in registering shares in the names of his children, had transferred the beneficial interest in those shares to them. Many years later the father had treated the shares as his own. The question arose as to whether this fact displaced the presumption of advancement.
Held: The presumption of advancement in a gift between father and son is not lightly to be displaced by evidence: ‘in the present case the plaintiff had of necessity to disclose his own illegality to the court and for this reason: He had not only to get over the fact that the transfer stated that the son paid $7000 for the land. He had also to get over the presumption of advancement, for whenever a father transfers property to his son, there is a presumption that he intended it as a gift to his son; and if he wishes to rebut that presumption and to say that he took as trustee for him, he must prove the trust clearly and distinctly, by evidence properly admissible for the purpose, and not leave it to be inferred from slight circumstances. see Shepherd v. Cartwright [1955] AC 431. The fact that the father received the income does not suffice . . The father had also to get over this pertinent question: If he intended the son to take as a trustee, why did he not insert on the memorandum of transfer the words ‘as trustee’ and register the trust as he could have done under section 160 of the Land Code?
‘In these circumstances it was essential for the father to put forward a convincing explanation why the transfer took the form it did, and the explanation he gave disclosed that he made the transfer for a fraudulent purpose, namely, to deceive the public administration . . Once this disclosure was made by the father, the courts were bound to take notice of it, even though the son had not pleaded it . .in the present case the father has of necessity to put forward,, and indeed, assert, his own fraudulent purpose, which he has fully achieved. He is met therefore by the principle stated long ago by Lord Mansfield ‘No court will lend its aid to a man who founds his cause of action upon an immoral or illegal act,’ see Holman v. Johnson (1775) 1 Cowp. 341, 343).”

Lord Denning, Viscount Simonds
[1962] AC 294, [1962] UKPC 1, [1962] UKPC 4, [1962] 2 WLR 548, [1962] 2 All ER 238
Bailii, Bailii
CitedHolman v Johnson 5-Jul-1775
ex turpi causa non oritur actio
Mansfield LCJ set out the principle of ex turpi causa non oritur actio: ‘The objection, that a contract is immoral or illegal as between plaintiff and defendant, sounds at all times very ill in the mouth of the defendant. It is not for his sake, . .
See AlsoPalaniappa Chettiar v Arunasalam Chettiar PC 31-Jan-1962
Malaya . .

Cited by:
CitedLavelle v Lavelle and others CA 11-Feb-2004
Property had been purchased in the name of of the appellant by her father. She appealed a finding that the presumption of advancement had been rebutted.
Held: The appeal failed. The presumption against advancement had been rebutted on the . .
ApprovedTinsley v Milligan HL 28-Jun-1993
Two women parties used funds generated by a joint business venture to buy a house in which they lived together. It was vested in the sole name of the plaintiff but on the understanding that they were joint beneficial owners. The purpose of the . .
CitedCollier v Collier CA 30-Jul-2002
Fraudulent Intent Negated Trust
The daughter claimant sought possession of business premises from her father who held them under leases. He claimed an order that the property was held in trust for him. The judge that at the time the properties were conveyed, the father had been . .
See AlsoPalaniappa Chettiar v Arunasalam Chettiar PC 31-Jan-1962
Malaya . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Trusts, Commonwealth

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.194812