There may be situations where one party holds an asset or monies on trust for another party.
When a breach of the trust occurs, it can lead to significant consequences for all parties involved. In this article, we explore more about breach of trust and unjust enrichment, real-life case studies, and the legal remedies available to those who have been wronged.
Understanding breach of trust
Breach of trust refers to a situation where an individual or organisation fails to fulfil their obligations under a trust created from express agreement or from the conduct of parties in relation to assets or monies held on trust by the former for another party. This breach can take place in a variety of contexts, including business partnerships, professional relationships and even family arrangements. Breach of trust may take the form of dishonesty, misappropriation of assets, a diversion of funds or any other action that is detrimental to the interests of the party who is the beneficiary of the trust.
Understanding unjust enrichment
When one party benefits or gains an advantage unfairly at the expense of another party, this is known as unjust enrichment. This concept is often invoked when one party, whether an individual or entity, gains something valuable that they shouldn’t have in the first place. The key element is that the enrichment is unfair and causes an imbalance between the parties involved.
Essentially, the case involves an illiterate man in his 60s who fell victim to deceit by his own relative, who had gotten him to sign certain documents. As a result, the brother had illicitly obtained money from the sale of the man’s HDB flat, which resulted in the man having to pay for a new HDB flat instead of using the sale proceeds from his old HDB to pay for the new HDB flat.
The brother took advantage of the man’s lack of literacy and trust by opening a joint bank account and siphoning off funds deposited into the account. These funds included money from the sale of the old HDB flat.
This was a distressing situation for the man, who earns a low income.
As experienced commercial litigation lawyers, we offered our services at a significantly reduced cost and successfully obtained a judgment against his brother on his behalf.
Legal remedies for breach of trust and unjust enrichment
There are various legal options available to the aggrieved party when faced with a breach of trust or unjust enrichment. These remedies seek to make the situation more equitable and just. Some common legal actions include the following:
- Restitution: The court may order the party who took the money to return it.
- Injunctions: In some circumstances, a court may order an injunction to prevent the party who has unfairly benefitted from continuing to profit from their actions.
- Rescission: In cases of unjust enrichment, the court may order parties to revert to their original positions before the unjust enrichment occurred.
- Trustee Removal: In situations involving a breach of trust, the court may remove the trustee and appoint a new one to oversee the assets.
Breach of trust and unjust enrichment are legal concepts that address situations where one party’s actions harm another by violating the legal trust or unfairly gaining an advantage. These situations can occur in various aspects of life, from professional to personal relationships.
When faced with such situations, it is important for the aggrieved party to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer. As experienced litigation lawyers in Singapore, DC Law LLC’s team of lawyers are able to help you determine the best course of action and achieve justice.
Do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.