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The Bankruptcy High Court made a noteworthy decision on 6th December 2016

The Bankruptcy High Court made a noteworthy decision on 6th December 2016 in the matter of Re D’Eye; Thomas & Another vs. Mariner Properties Ltd & Another [2016] All ER (D) 85 (Dec) in the context of a bankrupt’s estate vesting in his trustee. D was a property developer running his business through several companies that inevitably went into administration. On 31st July 2012, a bankruptcy order was made against D. D’s trustees in bankruptcy made several applications arguing that various assets that were held by D’s associates were, in fact, assets of D’s bankrupt estate.

The present application before Mr Registrar Baister concerned a flat (together with its associated parking bay) that had been purchased by D but was registered in his father’s name. The flat was then subsequently transferred to Mariner Properties Ltd. (see the Digest report cited above for the full business relationship between D, his father and Mariner) for zero consideration.

The trustees’ application was allowed on the basis that the evidence demonstrated that both D and his father had proceeded on the footing that the flat belonged to D (and therefore demonstrated that D was the beneficial owner of the flat). The evidence relied upon in coming to this decision included: (a) D’s father’s repudiation of any interest in the flat and; (b) the fact that D received rent from the let flat and never accounted for the same to either his father or Mariner.

This decision is of interest to those who act on behalf of trustees in the context of personal insolvency.

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