York Buildings Co v MacKenzie

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York Buildings Co v MacKenzie
Court House of Lords
Citation(s) (1795) 8 Bro 42, (1795) 3 ER 432
Conflict of interest

York Buildings Co v MacKenzie (1795) 3 ER 432 is an English trusts law case concerning the duty of a fiduciary to act in the beneficiaries' interests, without entering any conflict of interest.


The York Buildings Co was insolvent. Its estates (land in Widdrington, a lease of Strontian Mines, and some bonds and annuities) had been sold to pay creditors. Mr MacKenzie had bought some at a public judicial auction in February 1779, and the sale was confirmed by the Court of Session after several months. Mr MacKenzie then spent substantial sums of money improving the buildings. The York Buildings Co then sought a declaration that the sale be set aside, on the ground that Mr MacKenzie had been an agent and solicitor of the court during the previous proceedings.

Counsel for the appellants outlined the conventional position of the function of fiduciary responsibility in his submissions.[1]


The House of Lords held that an agent or solicitor of creditors of a bankrupt owed trustee-like fiduciary duties. So a purchase by him of part of a bankrupt's estate was liable to be set aside when the circumstances showed any impropriety or negligent conduct.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (1795) 8 Bro 42, 63-68


  • R Flannigan, 'The adulteration of fiduciary doctrine in corporate law' (2006) 122 LQR 449

External links[edit]