Woolfson v Strathclyde Regional Council: HL 15 Feb 1978

The House considered the compensation payable on the compulsory purchase of land occupied by the appellant, but held under a company name.
Held: The House declined to allow the principal shareholder of a company to recover compensation for the compulsory purchase of a property which the company occupied. the separate personality of a company is a real thing. Lord Keith observed that ‘it is appropriate to pierce the corporate veil only where special circumstances exist indicating that it is a mere facade concealing the true facts.’
Where the evidence shows that a company has been used as a vehicle or device for receiving monies wrongly paid out of a claimant company in breach of a defendant’s duty to that company, the receipt by the third party vehicle will be treated as the receipt by the defendant.


Wilberforce, Fraser of Tulleybelton, Killowen, Kinkel LL


[1978] UKHL 5, [1979] JPL 169, (1978) 248 EG 777, 1978 SC (HL) 90, 1978 SLT 159, (1979) 38 P and CR 521





Cited by:

AppliedAdams v Cape Industries plc CA 2-Jan-1990
Proper Use of Corporate Entity to Protect Owner
The defendant was an English company and head of a group engaged in mining asbestos in South Africa. A wholly owned English subsidiary was the worldwide marketing body, which protested the jurisdiction of the United States Federal District Court in . .
CitedPrest v Petrodel Resources Ltd and Others SC 12-Jun-2013
In the course of ancillary relief proceedings in a divorce, questions arose regarding company assets owned by the husband. The court was asked as to the power of the court to order the transfer of assets owned entirely in the company’s names. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Company

Updated: 07 December 2022; Ref: scu.279742