Baines v. Deluney

In Contracts, Fish Cases on (Updated )

This case involved the issue of whether or not a shrimp licence transferred to a fisherman was transferred for the purpose of a sale or the purpose of a long-term lease. After reviewing all of the evidence, the court concluded that the transfer was for the purpose of a lease and not a sale. It then imposed a constructive trust on the fishing licence and ordered that the licence be transferred back. In imposing the constructive trust, the court applied the case of Cabot v. Hicks [1999] N.J. 69 (Nfld. S.C.). It also adopted the following quote from Soulos v. Korkontzilas et al. (1997), 212 N.R. 1 (S.C.C.): “a constructive trust is the formula through which the conscience of equity finds expression. When property has been acquired in such circumstances that the holder of the legal title may not in good conscience retain the beneficial interest, equity converts him into a trustee.”

Editor’s note: For other cases involving constructive trusts on fishing licences see also The “Wa Yas” [1993] F.C.J. 909 (F.C.A.) affirming [1993]1 F.C. 36. and my article in the Fisheries Papers section of this web page entitled, “Licence Trusts”.