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Amstrong V. Jackson Notes

BCL Law Notes > Restitution of Unjust Enrichment BCL Notes

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FACTS The plaintiff is a medical man without business experience. The defendant is a stockbroker and a member of the London Stock Exchange. Prior to April, 1910, the defendant had acted as stockbroker for the plaintiff and had carried through several transactions for him. On April 12, 1910, the plaintiff by telegram instructed the defendant to buy for him 600 shares in a company known as the Champion Gold Reefs of West Africa, Limited. The capital of the company was 50,000l. in 200,000 shares of 5s. each. On the evening of April 12 the defendant wrote to the plaintiff informing him that his order had been executed, and sent with the letter a contract note in the ordinary form, purporting to show that the 600 shares had been purchased at the price of 21l. per share. The total amount debited against the plaintiff was the sum of 1758l. 16s. This sum included a charge of 15l. for the services of the defendant as broker. The shares gradually fell. The plaintiff paid the resultant differences. He became anxious. He asked the defendant for his views. The defendant advised him to take up the shares. In pursuance of that advice the plaintiff took a transfer of the shares in December, 1910, and paid the price to the defendant. The plaintiff continued to hold the shares as the duly registered proprietor thereof. The years passed on. In the summer of 1915 the plaintiff heard rumours which awakened his suspicions. His solicitor wrote to the defendant for the name of the jobber from whom he had bought the 600 shares on the plaintiff's behalf. As a result of these proceedings it has been established that the defendant had never purchased any of the shares for the plaintiff. The contract note of April, 1910, was wholly fictitious. It was a mere sham. The defendant had not carried over any of the shares on behalf of the plaintiff. The contango notes were fictitious. It is equally clear that the shares which were transferred to the plaintiff in December, 1910, were not the shares of a third party, but were the defendant's own shares. The defendant had been a promoter of the Champion Gold Reefs of West Africa. He had received by allotment a large block of shares on the formation of the company, including the shares transferred to the plaintiff in December, 1910. The plaintiff was deceived throughout. Hence the plaintiff claims (a) that the whole transaction be set aside, or (b) alternatively that the defendant be ordered to pay compensation for breach of duty. It should be added that the value of Champion Gold Reef shares at the date of the writ was about 5s. per share.

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