Lau Koon Ying Matthew, As The Executor Of The Estate Of Lau Yiu Wing, Deceased (“The Deceased”) v Lau Tark Wing And Another

CourtCourt of Appeal (Hong Kong)
Judgment Date11 December 2019
Neutral Citation[2019] HKCA 1387
Citation[2020] 1 HKLRD 367
Judgement NumberCACV229/2019
Subject MatterCivil Appeal
CACV228/2019 LAU KOON YING MATTHEW, as the executor of the estate of LAU YIU WING, deceased (“the Deceased”) v. LAU TARK WING AND ANOTHER

CACV 228, 229 & 230 /2019

[2019] HKCA 1387

CACV 228/2019

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF APPEAL

CIVIL APPEAL NO 228 OF 2019

(ON APPEAL FROM HCAP NO 23 OF 2013)

______________________

IN THE ESTATE of LAU HIN CHI, deceased

______________________

BETWEEN
LAU KOON YING MATTHEW, as the executor of the estate of LAU YIU WING, deceased (“the Deceased”) Plaintiff
(Respondent)
and
LAU TARK WING 1st Defendant
(1st Appellant)
LAU TARK WING,
the executor of the estate of TANG MEI HO, deceased
2nd Defendant
(2nd Appellant)

______________________

AND

CACV 229/2019

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF APPEAL

CIVIL APPEAL NO 229 OF 2019

(ON APPEAL FROM HCA NO 2305 OF 2012)

______________________

BETWEEN LAU KOON YING MATTHEW, as the executor of the estate of LAU YIU WING, deceased (“the Deceased”) Plaintiff
(Respondent)
and
LAU TARK WING 1st Defendant
(1st Appellant)
WING HING RESOURCES LIMITED 2nd Defendant
(2nd Appellant)

______________________

AND

CACV 230/2019

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF APPEAL

CIVIL APPEAL NO 230 OF 2019

(ON APPEAL FROM HCA NO 2306 OF 2012)

______________________

BETWEEN
LAU KOON YING MATTHEW Plaintiff
(Respondent)
and
LAU TARK WING 1st Defendant
(1st Appellant)
CABA RESOURCES LIMITED 2nd Defendant
(2nd Appellant)
WING HING RESOURCES LIMITED 3rd Defendant
(3rd Appellant)

______________________

(Consolidated by Order of Master K Lo dated the 9th September 2013)

(De-consolidated by Order of Registrar K W Lung dated the 24th day of February 2016)

______________________

(Heard together)

Before: Hon Kwan VP and Yuen JA in Court
Dates of Written Submissions: 13 and 27 November 2019
Date of Judgment: 11 December 2019

____________________

J U D G M E N T

____________________

Hon Kwan VP (giving the Judgment of the Court):

1. This judgment deals with the question whether the appeals from the orders of a master made upon the taking of accounts ordered by a judge should be brought before a single judge of the Court of First Instance or the Court of Appeal.

2. The matter arose in this way.

3. The taking of accounts was ordered by Chow J in his judgment dated 25 September 2017 after the trial of these three actions: HCAP 23/2013, HCA 2305/2012 and HCA 2306/2012.

4. In HCAP 23/2013, Lau Koon Ying Matthew (“Matthew”) as the executor of the estate of his father sued his uncle Lau Tark Wing (“Tark Wing”) and the estate of his grandmother (represented by Tark Wing) on the ground that the father never received his share of the sale proceeds of Lot 2785 and Lot 3825.

5. In HCA 2305/2012 and HCA 2306/2012, Matthew personally and as executor of the estate of his father sued Tark Wing and his companies for rental proceeds generated from Lot 3763C in DD 124 (owned by the father), Lot 3763D (owned by Matthew) and Lot 3763RP (50% owned by the father).

6. Chow J accepted Matthew’s claim in respect of the father’s share of the sale proceeds of Lot 2785 and Lot 3825 and the claim in respect of the rental proceeds. He held that Tark Wing held the sale proceeds as the father’s agent and was under a fiduciary duty to properly account to Matthew in respect of the proceeds, and that Tark Wing’s payment of such proceeds to the grandmother constituted a breach of his fiduciary duty owed to the father. In respect of the claim of the rental proceeds, the judge held that Matthew’s claim was a claim for equitable relief based on breaches of fiduciary duty on the part of Tark Wing and his companies as agents and that Tark Wing and his companies were treated as holding the rental proceeds as trustees for the father and Matthew and ought to properly account to Matthew.

7. The judge ordered and directed that: (1) an account be taken of the father’s share of the proceeds of sale of Lot 2785 and Lot 3825 received by Tark Wing and the grandmother; (2) an account be taken of the rental proceeds received by Tark Wing and his companies; and (3) the questions of (a) the appropriate period and rate of interest, and (b) what (if any) credit should be given for the construction costs of the houses on Lot 3763C, Lot 3763D, Lot 3763RP and Lot 884 in DD 379, be dealt with in the taking of the accounts.

8. Master J Wong proceeded with the taking of the accounts pursuant to Chow J’s judgment and ordered on 29 April 2019 as follows:

(1) in HCAP 23/2013, Tark Wing is liable to pay to Matthew the sale proceeds in the sum of $7,252,785.41 (inclusive of compound interest from 21 September 1992 to 29 April 2019) and interest at judgment rate thereafter with costs;

(2) in HCA 2305/2012, Tark Wing and his company are liable to pay to Matthew the sum of $6,956,135.86 (inclusive of compound interest from 1 January 1997 to 29 April 2019) and interest at judgment rate thereafter with costs;

(3) in HCA 2306/2012, Tark Wing and his company are liable to pay to Matthew the sum of $3,893,950.20 (inclusive of compound interest from 1 January 1997 to 29 April 2019) and interest at judgment rate thereafter with costs; and

(4) no credit should be given to any construction costs.

9. The orders made by the master represented the remedies to which...

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