Feb 05
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Common Law Lecture Series: Knowing Receipt after Byers v Saudi National Bank

The Common Law Lecture Series


Knowing Receipt after Byers v Saudi National Bank


5 February 2024 (Monday), 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Academic Conference Room, 11/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU




Professor Charles Mitchell, KC (Hon), FBA is Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at HKU in February 2024. He has been a Professor of Law at UCL since 2010. In 2017 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and in 2019 he was appointed an Honorary Queen’s Counsel (now King’s Counsel). His main research interests are the law of unjust enrichment, the law of trusts, and modern legal history. Professor Mitchell’s work has been cited and discussed in many landmark unjust enrichment and trusts cases, including: AIB Group (UK) plc v Mark Redler & Co [2015] AC 1503; Menelaou v Bank of Cyprus plc [2016] AC 176; Sevilleja v Marex Financial Ltd [2021] AC 39; and Byers v Saudi National Bank [2022] 4 WLR 22. He is also the co-author of recent editions of Underhill and Hayton’s Law Relating to Trusts and Trustees and Goff and Jones on Unjust Enrichment.


About the Lecture
Liability for knowing receipt is incurred when defendants receive legal title to trust property with knowledge that the trustee’s transfer to them was unauthorised, or when they receive it from others who act beyond limits enforceable in equity that are placed on their powers to transfer legal title. Byers v Saudi National Bank concerned the question whether it must be shown that a claimant had an ‘equitable proprietary interest’ in the relevant property which existed before the unauthorised transfer and subsisted up to the time of the defendant’s receipt. The English Court of Appeal gave an affirmative answer with the result that the claim failed on the facts; their decision has now been upheld by the UK Supreme Court: [2023] UKSC 51, affirming [2022] EWCA Civ 43. However, the courts’ reasoning conflicts with many cases where claimants have successfully brought knowing receipt claims although they never had an ‘equitable proprietary interest’ in the relevant property. It is therefore argued that liability for knowing receipt is best explained not by reference to ideas of ‘equitable property rights’ but by reference to the equitable rules that constrain dealings by parties whose ownership or control of property has been vested in them for the benefit of others.


About the Lecture Series
The Faculty of Law proudly announces The Common Law Lecture Series. The Common Law Lecture Series was founded in 2005, by the Faculty of Law with the kind support of the Court of Final Appeal, to contribute to the learning and development of the common law. Past speakers include Sir Anthony Mason, Mr Justice Ribeiro, Lord Millett, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Scott, Mr Justice Phang, Lord Walker, Mr Justice Li, Mr Justice Ma, Mr Justice Bokhary, Mr Justice Litton, Mr Justice Cheung, and most recently, Professor Lionel Smith.


Chair: Justice Anselmo Reyes SC, International Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court and former Professor of Legal Practice of The University of Hong Kong


Registration is required. Please register ONLINE to reserve your place.
Enquiries: Flora Leung at

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