Sinclair Investments (UK) Ltd v Versailles Trade Finance Ltd and Others: CA 29 Mar 2011

The appellant challenged a decision that it was not entitled to a proprietary interest in the proceeds of sale of some shares which had been acquired with the proceeds of a breach of trust. Specifically, the claims gave rise to (i) an issue as to the circumstances in which a proprietary interest arises, (ii) an issue as to what constitutes sufficient notice to defeat a person’s claim that he is a purchaser for value without notice in good faith, and (iii) a number of other issues relating to tracing claims.
Held: The Court analysed the conflicting decisions on these issues and decided that it should follow Heiron and Lister, and Tyrrell, for a number of reasons.
The court decided not to follow a decision of the Privy Council. Lord Neuberger MR said: ‘We should not follow the Privy Council decision in Reid [1994] 1 AC 324 in preference to decisions of this court, unless there are domestic authorities which show that the decisions of this court were per incuriam, or at least of doubtful reliability. Save where there are powerful reasons to the contrary, the Court of Appeal should follow its own previous decisions, and in this instance there are five such previous decisions. It is true that there is a powerful subsequent decision of the Privy Council which goes the other way, but that of itself is not enough to justify departing from the earlier decisions of this court . . I do not suggest that it would always be wrong for this court to refuse to follow a decision of the Privy Council in preference to one of its own previous decisions, but it the general rule is that we follow our previous decisions, leaving it to the Supreme Court to overrule those decisions if it is appropriate to do so.’


Lord Neuberger MR, Richards, Hughes LJJ


[2011] EWCA Civ 347, [2011] Bus LR 1126, [2011] 3 WLR 1153, [2011] WTLR 1043, [2012] Ch 453




England and Wales


See AlsoSinclair Investment Holdings Sa v Versailles Trade Finance Ltd and Another CA 12-May-2005
. .
See AlsoSinclair Investment Holdings Sa v Versailles Trade Finance Ltd and others CA 25-Jan-2005
leave . .
Appeal fromSinclair Investments (UK) Ltd v Versailles Trade Finance Ltd and Others ChD 30-Jun-2010
Lord Neuberger MR said that Carl Zeiss ‘supports the proposition that notice of a claim is not the same as notice of a right’. . .

Cited by:

CitedFHR European Ventures Llp and Others v Cedar Capital Partners Llc SC 16-Jul-2014
Approprietary remedy against Fraudulent Agent
The Court was asked whether a bribe or secret commission received by an agent is held by the agent on trust for his principal, or whether the principal merely has a claim for equitable compensation in a sum equal to the value of the bribe or . .
CitedMichael Wilson and Partners Ltd v Sinclair and Others ComC 21-Sep-2012
The claimant company alleged that the defendants had variously received assests (shares and cash) acquired by a former partner in the claimant company and held on his behalf, in breach of his obligations to the caimant partnership. The defendants . .
CitedWillers v Gubay ChD 15-May-2015
The court was asked whether the tort of malicious prosecution of civil proceedings is known to English law.
Held: The Crawfod Adjusters case should not be followed: ‘If I am not bound by Gregory, then I see no reason for departing from the . .
MentiuonedScott 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.

Equity, Company

Updated: 02 May 2022; Ref: scu.431559