Lamborghinis, conversion, and a declaration of trust by WhatsApp: James McKean appears successfully in Slade Garages Ltd v Worrow


Reference:
Slade Garages Ltd v Worrow

Date:
21st January 2020

Court:
County Court

Facts:

James McKean represented the successful Part 20 Defendant in Slade Garages Ltd v Worrow, a trial concerning the ownership of a Lamborghini Aventador.

 

His Honour Judge Saggerson found that the Part 20 Defendant was the rightful owner of the Lamborghini, which had been purchased for a sum of £330,986.00 and sold without her consent.


Judge:
His Honour Judge Saggerson

Comment:

Comment

The Judge also allowed both elements of the Part 20 Defendant’s counterclaim. The first was a claim for conversion, where compensatory and aggravated damages were awarded. The Judge however declined to allow exemplary damages, which would have been the first time they have ever been awarded in a conversion claim in this jurisdiction. The Judge described them as ‘theoretically possible’ but inappropriate on the facts.

The second aspect was based on an oral declaration of trust, the ‘smoking gun’ of which was a WhatsApp message. Observing wryly that ‘I am sure the Chancery Division is full of trusts declared on WhatsApp’, the Judge followed the decision in Paul v Constance [1977] 1 W.L.R. 527 and found that a trust had been settled through repeated assurances by the Defendant, though the word ‘trust’ was not used. The subject matter of the trust was a ‘golden handshake’ settlement payment, understood to be in the sum of £2.5 million, of which the Judge ordered an account.   

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