Fiduciary in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Bristol and West Building Society v Mothew
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 24 Jul 1996

    Equitable compensation for breach of the duty of skill and care resembles common law damages in that it is awarded by way of compensation to the plaintiff for his loss. There is no reason in principle why the common law rules of causation, remoteness of damage and measure of damages should not be applied by analogy in such a case.

    A fiduciary is someone who has undertaken to act for or on behalf of another in a particular matter in circumstances which give rise to a relationship of trust and confidence. The distinguishing obligation of a fiduciary is the obligation of loyalty.

  • Bristol and West Building Society v Mothew
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 24 Jul 1996

    The nature of the obligation determines the nature of the breach. The various obligations of a fiduciary merely reflect different aspects of his core duties of loyalty and fidelity. Breach of fiduciary obligation, therefore, connotes disloyalty or infidelity. Mere incompetence is not enough. A servant who loyally does his incompetent best for his master is not unfaithful and is not guilty of a breach of fiduciary duty.

    A fiduciary who acts for two principals with potentially conflicting interests without the informed consent of both is in breach of the obligation of undivided loyalty; he puts himself in a position where his duty to one principal may conflict with his duty to the other: see Clark Boyce v Mouat [1994] 1 AC 428 and the cases there cited. This is sometimes described as "the double employment rule". But this is not something of which the Society can complain.

    Conduct which is in breach of this duty need not be dishonest but it must be intentional. An unconscious omission which happens to benefit one principal at the expense of the other does not constitute a breach of fiduciary duty, though it may constitute a breach of the duty of skill and care.

  • Gwembe Valley Development Company Ltd v Koshy and Another
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 28 Jul 2003

    They arose directly out of the transaction which gave rise to those profits, and the circumstances in which it was made. The fact that Mr Koshy was in a pre-existing fiduciary relationship with the company was not enough, by itself, to bring the case within class 1, any more than it was in Taylor v Davies.

  • Imageview Management Ltd v Jack
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 13 Feb 2009

    I accept Mr Lopian's submission that there can be cases of harmless collaterality. And that there can be cases where there is just an honest breach of contract such as Keppel. This is a case of a secret profit obtained because Mr Berry/Imageview was Mr Jack's agent. And there was a breach of a fiduciary duty because of a real conflict of interest. Once a conflict of interest is shown, as Atkin LJ said in the last passage quoted, the right to remuneration goes.

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