Secret Trust in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • De Bruyne v De Bruyne and Others
    • Court of Appeal
    • 13 May 2010

    It is not necessary in such cases to show that the property was acquired by actual fraud (although the principle would apply equally in such cases). This is sufficient in itself to create the fiduciary obligation and to require the imposition of a constructive trust.

  • Prince Arthur Ikpechukwu Eze v Conway and Another
    • Court of Appeal
    • 06 Feb 2019

    It is clear from the authorities that in order for the law of bribery and secret commissions to be engaged there must be a relationship of trust and confidence between the recipient of the benefit or the promise of a benefit and his principal (used in the loosest of senses) which puts the recipient in a real position of potential conflict between his interest and his duty. Not all agents will be in such a position and the relationship may arise where there is no agency at all.

  • FHR European Ventures LLP v Mankarious
    • Supreme Court
    • 16 Jul 2014

    Wider policy considerations also support the respondents' case that bribes and secret commissions received by an agent should be treated as the property of his principal, rather than merely giving rise to a claim for equitable compensation. Secret commissions are also objectionable as they inevitably tend to undermine trust in the commercial world.

  • Novoship (UK) Ltd and Others v Vladimir Mikhaylyuk and Others
    • Queen's Bench Division (Commercial Court)
    • 14 Dic 2012

    The essential character of a bribe is, thus, that it is a secret payment or inducement that gives rise to a realistic prospect of a conflict between the agent's personal interest and that of his principal. The bribe may have been offered by the payer or sought by the agent. There is no need to establish dishonesty or corrupt motives. The motive for the payment or inducement (be it a gift, payment for services or otherwise) is irrelevant.

  • Malik and Mahmud v Bank of Credit and Commerce International SA
    • Court of Appeal
    • 09 Mar 1995

    But it is inherent in conduct of the kind which we are required to assume in this case that, if it is to be successful, it is secret and hidden from most of the employees as well as the rest of the world. Once the employee has left his employment the subsequent revelation of the fraud can have no effect on the trust and confidence for, by definition, it has ceased anyway.

  • Attorney General's Reference (No. 1 of 1985)
    • Court of Appeal
    • 07 Mar 1986

    The second matter is this. There is a clear and important difference between on the one hand a person misappropriating specific property with which he has been entrusted, and on the other hand a person in a fiduciary position who uses that position to make a secret profit for which he will be held accountable. Whether the former is within section 5, we do not have to decide. As to the latter we are firmly of the view that he is not, because he is not a trustee.

  • (1) Cadogan Petroleum Plc (2) Cadogan Petroleum Holdings Ltd and Others v (1) Mark Tolley (2) Marksman International Ltd and Others
    • Chancery Division
    • 07 Set 2011

    A bribe is to be seen as something the fiduciary obtained by doing a wrong rather than by depriving the beneficiary of an opportunity.

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Books & Journal Articles
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Contentious Trusts And Estates
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ......He is currently acting for a client pursuing a secret trust claim over assets alleged to be hidden in Swiss bank accounts and in the British Virgin Islands. Elizabeth Neale, Partner. Liz joined ......
  • Supreme Court Holds That Bribes Received By An Agent Are Held On Trust For The Principal
    • Mondaq UK
    ......Cedar Capital Partners LLC [2014] UKSC 45 has clarified that a bribe or a secret commission received by an agent is held by the agent on trust for his principal, creating a proprietary remedy against the bribe or secret commission ......
  • Can You Be Dismissed For Secretly Recording Your Boss?: UK Employment Tribunal Weighs In
    • Mondaq UK
    ...... At the EAT, her employer argued that the covert recording amounted to a breach of the duty of trust and confidence that is implied in every contract of employment. The covert recording was designed to obtain an advantage for Ms Stockman and place ......
  • Beyond The Brown Envelope
    • Mondaq UK
    ...... been a principle of English law that if an agent takes a bribe or a secret commission, he is liable to account to his principal for the amount ... or secret commission received by an agent is held on constructive trust for his principal, and as such the principal has a proprietary claim to ......
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