Seminar on ownership of the family home in Hong Kong

I gave a research seminar yesterday on ownership of the family home in Hong Kong at the Faculty of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Here is the abstract:

‘Disputes about ownership rights in the family home when couples break up occur quite frequently. Matters are considerably simplified where the parties have formally expressed their intention as to their respective ownership rights in the home. In many cases, however, there was no express agreement between them. In such a case, the law of the common intention constructive trust requires the court to ‘discover’ and give effect to an informal understanding between the parties as to the ownership of the family home. Hong Kong’s law has been heavily influenced by English law and the courts have drawn on major developments such as the House of Lords decision in Stack v Dowden After Stack, it was unclear whether an intention as to ownership rights could be imputed to the couple where there was no evidence that they had reached an actual agreement. The UK Supreme Court addressed this in Jones v Kernott. Mo Ying v Brillex Developments Ltd provided Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal with an opportunity to reflect on the state of Hong Kong law after Jones v Kernott. This seminar will explain and analyse the state of Hong Kong’s law after Mo Ying.’

Michael Lower

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