Re Goldcorp Exchange Limited

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Re Goldcorp Exchange Limited [1995] 1 A.C. 74 is an English Privy Council case on trusts law, particularly on the area of certainty of subject matter and segregation of trust property. The facts of this case is particularly illustrative for understanding the issue of "segregation".

Brief Facts: The case concerns an insolvent gold trading company and claimants argued that the company should hold their gold on trusts for them. Three classes of claimants existed. First type involved clients who purchased gold bullion and their respective orders were fulfilled in full, with their bullion placed in specific vaults. There is clear segregation of trust property thus it was held that the company holds their gold on trust for these clients. Second type involved clients who purchased gold, but they were merely given a receipt (a "chose in action"). The company only holds minimal amount of gold bullion for their day to day trading use and these clients' orders were not fulfilled in full. Since their gold is unsegregated from the general inventory, these clients were not beneficiaries under trust. Third type of client involved a particular purchaser who bought a large amount of rare "maple leaf coins". Due to its rarity, the company cannot fulfill his order and had to further order the coins from the manufacturers. The client was able to produce satisfactory evidence that if it was not for his order, the company would not have gotten those coins. However, since these coins were placed in the same vault as the company's other coins, it was held to be unsegregated and no trust exists.

Case Considered: Re London Wine (1975), Mac-Jordan Construction Ltd v Brookmount Erostin Ltd [1992] BCLC 350

Case Distinguished:

Hunter v Moss (1993), Re Harvard Securities [1997] 2 BCLC 369

Case Law