Yu v Registrar-General of New South Wales [2010] NSWSC 353

A solicitor, Mr Wun Cheung, fraudulently transferred the property into his name and then borrowed on it by executing a mortgage in favour of Nationwide Capital Pty Limited. Mr Chan’s practising certificate has been suspended.

A claim was made on the Fidelity Fund. The Fidelity Fund paid the moneys necessary to discharge the mortgage. All that remains is for the property to be transferred back into the rightful owner’s name.

The difficulty was that Mr Chan had not been served. The plaintiff did not know his whereabouts, or whether he was in Australia. The Law Society manager appointed to Mr Chan’s practice, gave evidence that it appeared that Mr Chan had occupied part of the first floor of his office premises as his place of residence but no longer resided there.

The Department of Immigration advised that Mr Chan left the country on 13 August 2009 and his whereabouts are currently unknown. The matter was then placed in the hands of the police. However all they could say to contribute was:

“We have an idea of who to ask but we can’t say where he is, he could be overseas by now.”

To resolve the impasse Justice White ordered, pursuant to r 10.14, that service should be substituted by an advertisement in The Australian newspaper and in the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong advising of the fact that proceedings have been instituted by the plaintiff in the Supreme Court of New South Wales against the second defendant in which orders are sought that the Registrar-General cancel the certificate of title in the name of Mr Chan.

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