The expressions ‘constructive trust’ and ‘constructive trustee’ are ‘nothing more than a formula for equitable relief. It is the actual control of assets belonging beneficially to a company which causes the law to treat directors as analogous to trustees of those assets.’
He continued: ‘It is essential at the outset to distinguish two very different kinds of so-called constructive trustees: (1) Those who, though not appointed trustees, take upon themselves to act as such and to possess and administer trust property for the beneficiaries, such as trustees de son tort. Distinguishing features for present purposes are (a) they do not claim to act in their own right but for the beneficiaries, and (b) their assumption to act is not of itself a ground of liability (save in the sense of course of liability to account and for any failure in the duty so assumed), and so their status as trustees precedes the occurrence which may be the subject of claim against them. (2) Those whom a court of equity will treat as trustees by reason of their action, of which complaint is made. Distinguishing features are (a) that such trustees claim to act in their own right and not for beneficiaries, and (b) no trusteeship arises before, but only by reason of, the action complained of.’
. . And ‘It seems to me imperative to grasp and keep constantly in mind that the second category of constructive trusteeship (which is the only category with which we are concerned) is nothing more than a formula for equitable relief. The court of equity says that the defendant shall be liable in equity, as though he were a trustee. He is made liable in equity as trustee by the imposition or construction of the court of equity. This is done because in accordance with equitable principles applied by the court of equity it is equitable that he should be held liable as though he were a trustee.’
 1 WLR 1555,  2 All ER 1073
England and Wales
Cited – Dubai Aluminium Company Limited v Salaam and Others HL 5-Dec-2002
Partners Liable for Dishonest Act of Solicitor
A solicitor had been alleged to have acted dishonestly, having assisted in a fraudulent breach of trust by drafting certain documents. Contributions to the damages were sought from his partners.
Held: The acts complained of were so close to . .
Cited – Cobbe v Yeomans Row Management Ltd and Others ChD 25-Feb-2005
Principles for Proprietary Estoppel
A developer claimed to have agreed that upon obtaining necessary planning permissions for land belonging to the respondents, he would purchase the land at a price reflecting its new value. The defendant denied that any legally enforceable agreement . .
Cited – Paragon Finance Plc (Formerly Known As National Home Loans Corporation Plc v D B Thakerar and Co (a Firm); Ranga and Co (a Firm) and Sterling Financial Services Limited CA 21-Jul-1998
Where an action had been begun on basis of allegations of negligence and breach of trust, new allegations of fraud where quite separate new causes of claim, and went beyond amendments and were disallowed outside the relevant limitation period. . .
Cited – Ultraframe (UK) Ltd v Fielding and others ChD 27-Jul-2005
The parties had engaged in a bitter 95 day trial in which allegations of forgery, theft, false accounting, blackmail and arson. A company owning patents and other rights had become insolvent, and the real concern was the destination and ownership of . .
Cited – Holland v Revenue and Customs and Another SC 24-Nov-2010
The Revenue sought an order under section 212 of the 1986 Act, for payment of the tax debts of the insolvent company by a de facto director. H had organised a scheme under which IT contractors had worked through companies created by him under a . .
Cited – Williams v Central Bank of Nigeria SC 19-Feb-2014
Bank not liable for fraud of customer
The appellant sought to make the bank liable for a fraud committed by the Bank’s customer, the appellant saying that the Bank knew or ought to have known of the fraud. The court was asked whether a party liable only as a dishonest assistant was a . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 24 June 2021; Ref: scu.193893