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 trustee, and subject to the exception which would extend the limitation period.
Held: The bank’s appeal succeeded. The definition of ‘trustee’ in section 21 of the 1980 Act did not apply to include someone deemed to be a trustee for acting as a dishonest assistant or knowing recipient within a fraudulent scheme. He could only be a consructive trustee.

Lord Neuberger, President, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Sumption, Lord Hughes
[2014] UKSC 10, 16 ITELR 740, [2014] WLR(D) 88, [2014] 2 All ER 489, [2014] 2 WLR 355, [2014] WTLR 873, UKSC 2012/0113
Bailii, WLRD, Bailii Summary, SC Summary, SC
Limitation Act 1980 21(1)(a)
England and Wales
See AlsoWilliams v Central Bank of Nigeria QBD 8-Apr-2011
The claimant had been defrauded by a customer of the defendant bank. He brought a claim against the bank, saying that they knew or ought to have known of the fraudster’s activities, and were liable. The Bank denied that the UK courts had . .
See AlsoWilliams v Central Bank of Nigeria QBD 24-Jan-2012
The claimant asserted involvement by the defendant bank in a fraud perpetrated against him. Jurisdiction had already been admitted for one trust , and now the claimant sought to add two further claims.
Held: ‘None of the gateways to English . .
See AlsoCentral Bank of Nigeria v Williams CA 3-Apr-2012
The claimant alleged that he had been defrauded and accused the appellant of involvement in the fraud. The Bank appealed against a finding that the claim against it was not time limited.
Held: The appeal failed. The action was by a beneficiary . .
See AlsoWilliams v Central Bank of Nigeria CA 2-Jul-2013
The claimant appealed against an order dis-allowing service on it out of the jurisdiction.
Held: Dr Williams’ appeal in respect of the Nigerian law claim was allowed but rejected in respect of the trust claim and the contract claim. . .
CitedBeckford v Wade PC 1805
(Jamaica) The board was concerned with the application of the English statutes of limitation, which were held to apply in Jamaica subject to a Jamaican statute excepting (among other people) trustees. Sir William Grant MR said: ‘The question then . .
CitedHovenden v Lord Annesley 1806
Referring to a judgment of Lord Macclesfield on the application of statutory limitation by analogy to claims against trustees for breach of trust, he continued: ‘Now I take it that the position which has been laid down, ‘that trust and fraud are not . .
CitedParagon 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. . .
CitedSelangor United Rubber Estates Ltd v Cradock (No 3) ChD 1968
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 . .
CitedBonney v Ridgard 3-Dec-1784
A purchaser of leasehold premises from an executor need not (in general) see to the application of the purchase money, nor need there be any recital in such an assignment of the purpose for which it is sold ; but if on the face of the assignment it . .
CitedWilson v Moore 22-Mar-1834
Merchants who, by the direction of an executor, their commercial correspondent, applied a fund, which they knew to be part of the testator’s assets, in satisfaction of advances made by them, in the course of trade, to relieve the embarrasments of . .
CitedBarnes v Addy 1874
A stranger to a trust can be liable in equity for assisting in a breach of trust, even though he received no trust property.
Lord Selborne said: ‘Now in this case we have to deal with certain persons who are trustees, and with certain other . .
CitedSoar v Ashwell CA 1893
Trustees under a will had entrusted the trust fund to a solicitor for investment. The solicitor exercised all of their administrative and investment powers for them and distributed part of the fund invested to the beneficiaries under the will but . .
CitedIn re Gallard 1897
. .
CitedIn re Eyre-Williams 1923
. .
CitedHeynes v Dixon 1900
. .
CitedIn re Jane Davies 1891
An action brought by a residuary legatee against an executor for the administration of the testator’s estate is an action for a legacy.
An executor, qua executor, is not an express trustee. . .
CitedIn re Lacy; Royal General Theatrical Fund Association v Kydd 1899
Equity prevents trustees from raising limitation against their beneficiaries.
An executor, qua executor, is not an express trustee. . .
CitedTaylor v Davies PC 19-Dec-1919
(Ontario) An assignee for the benefit of creditors conveyed mortgaged property to the mortgagee in satisfaction of part of the debt due to him. The mortgagee was also one of the inspectors required by the Canadian legislation to supervise the . .
CitedClarkson v Davies PC 1923
In a case involving fraud, referring to Taylor v Davies, Lord Justice Clerk said that: ‘it was there laid down that there is a distinction between a trust which arises before the occurrence of the transaction impeached and cases which arises only by . .
CitedRoyal Brunei Airlines SDN BHD v Tan PC 24-May-1995
(Brunei) The defendants were a one-man company, BLT, and the one man, Mr Tan. A dishonest third party to a breach of trust was liable to make good a resulting loss even though he had received no trust property. The test of knowledge was an objective . .
CitedDeg-Deutsch Investitions Und Entwicklungsgesellschaft Mbh v Koshy (No 3) Gwembe Valley Development Co Ltd v Same (No 3) ChD 26-Oct-2001
A claim against a company director which alleged a misapplication of company assets involving a fraudulent, or dishonest breach of trust, was not subject to a limitation period. A company was alleged to have fraudulently hidden certain profits. The . .
CitedDEG-Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH v Koshy and Other (No 3); Gwembe Valley Development Co Ltd (in receivership) v Same (No 3) CA 28-Jul-2003
The company sought to recover damages from a director who had acted dishonestly, by concealing a financial interest in a different company which had made loans to the claimant company. He replied that the claim was out of time. At first instance the . .
CitedHalton International Inc (Holding) and Another v Guernroy Ltd ChD 9-Sep-2005
Parties had entered into a shareholders’ agreement as to voting arrengemets within a company. Thay disputed whether votes had been used in reach of that agreement, particularly as to the issue of new shares and their allotment, but the court now . .
CitedHalton International Inc Another v Guernroy Ltd CA 27-Jun-2006
The parties had been involved in investing in an airline to secure its future, but it was now said that one party had broken the shareholders’ or voting agreement in not allowing further investments on a pari passu basis. The defendants argued that . .
CitedCattley and Another v Pollard and Another ChD 7-Dec-2006
The first defendant solicitor misappropriated money from an estate he was administering. The beneficiaries later commenced proceedings against his wife, alleging knowing assistance. She said that that claim was out of time. The claimant responded . .
CitedPeconic Industrial Development Ltd v Lau Kwok FAI 27-Feb-2009
Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal. The limitation period for a claim in dishonest assistance is 6 years. For limitation purposes a distinction is to be made between two kinds of constructive trustees: those who are fiduciaries and those who are . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Banking, Torts – Other, Limitation

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.521993