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SUPREME COURT CONSIDERS AGENT’S LIABILITY

In Bailey v. Angove’s PTY Ltd [2016] UKSC 47 the Supreme Court dealt with the question of whether an agent held monies it had received on trust for its principal. The agent was the agent of an Australian winemaker. It received monies from retailers when it knew that insolvency was imminent.
The Court held that the authority of the agent to collect monies had been properly terminated by the principal, so that the trust question did not strictly arise. However Lord Sumption went on to consider what would have been the position if the agency had not been terminated. He held that a constructive trust would not arise, because the agent would have had a contractual right to receive the money, so that it would not be unconscionable for it to retain it.

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