Kelvin Tse, ‘Proprietary estoppel and statutory formalities: implications for Hong Kong’

“When parties contract to create or dispose of interests in land, eg by way of a sale, the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 (the 1989 Act) s 2 in England and the Conveyancing and Property Ordinance (Cap 219) (CPO) ss 3 and 5(1) in Hong Kong, require these contracts to be in writing for public policy reasons, falling which would render them unenforceable, or even void. Nevertheless, as common-sensibly expected, there are times when parties conclude an oral contract without putting it in writing, especially for informal or familial relationships. For statutes, s 2(5) of the 1989 Act and CPO s 5(2) exclude the general rule from ‘resulting, implied or constructive trusts’. At common law, however, a potential exception is ‘proprietary estoppel’, a long-standing equitable doctrine used to prevent a party’s unconscionable conduct against the other party acting to his detriment on a belief deriving from an assurance, agreement, or common understanding, that he has or will acquire an interest in the property. The inevitable question is how can the statutory formalities and proprietary estoppel come together? …”

€ (Westlaw)

Kelvin KC Tse, ‘Proprietary estoppel and statutory formalities: implications for Hong Kong’ [2021] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer (4) 365-380.

First posted 2021-12-06 12:20:06

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