When Trust Disappears, Often a Trust Arises

When Trust Disappears, Often a Trust Arises

Eumeralla Estate Pty Ltd v Chen [2022] VSCA 78

The case of Eumeralla Estate Pty Ltd v Chen [2022] VSCA 78 involved a dispute regarding funds for purchase and development of a property in Templestowe. The Respondents, Jessica Chen and her brother in law, Lance Chen entered a joint venture with the Second Applicants jeff Chang, and his wife, Bo Xuan, with Jessica and Lance transferring a company controlled by the second applicants, Eumeralla Estate Pty Ltd (‘Eumeralla’), $430,000.00 for the purchase of the property. However there was a noted lack of documentation regarding the parties’ joint venture, the basis on which the monies were paid and whether there was an intention to create a trust.

The Templestowe property purchase was not completed, and the $430,000.00 was transferred out of Eumeralla’s account by Jeff. Jeff then purchased a property in Kooyong. It was disputed as to whether the respondents were aware or had consented to this withdrawal.

The trial judge was required to interpret the character of the transfers and agreement after the fact and ruled that the funds had been withdrawn in breach of trust. As a portion of the funds could be traced to the Kooyong property purchase, the court also found that the respondents were entitled to a share of the ownership of that property.

Whether the money paid by the respondents to Eumerella for the development was held on trust?


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