The Hong Kong subsidiary of a US manufacturer of a well-known brand (“US Brand Company” or the “client”) had a dispute with a Hong Kong company over unjust enrichment, as funds of the US Brand Company were erroneously transferred into the bank account of the Hong Kong company through a bank in Shenzhen. The US Brand Company brought a lawsuit against the Hong Kong company before the People’s Court of Qianhai District, Shenzhen, demanding for the return of the funds that were erroneously transferred. JunHe represented the US Brand Company in the trial of first instance, which it won on October 15, 2019 (date of judgment).
The parties to this case are both incorporated in the Hong Kong Administrative Region of China, making it an unjust enrichment case involving not only criminal issues but also other foreign factors. After being employed by the US Brand Company, JunHe swiftly deployed its top lawyers from offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The team from the four offices cooperated closely throughout the project and were composed of partners and associates experienced in the relevant areas. The lawyers from the Shenzhen office filed a police report without any delay, freezing the funds in a timely fashion. They also actively liaised with the Shenzhen police to prolong the period the account will be frozen, effectively protecting the legal rights of the client. Meanwhile, the lawyers in the Shanghai and Beijing offices worked to familiarize themselves with the case materials in a short period to render a legal opinion of the case from both the criminal and civil aspects. Other lawyers in the Shenzhen and Hong Kong offices conducted legal research at the same time on the application of laws of mainland China and Hong Kong and searched into relevant precedents for the case at hand. The Hong Kong lawyers particularly rendered a legal opinion based on common law principles in Hong Kong, making a thorough analysis and accurate articulation regarding applicable law and factual grounds that could be used to argue for unjust enrichment as an employee of the US Brand mistakenly transferred funds of the company to the Shenzhen account of the Hong Kong company. After careful pre-trial preparation and in-depth sorting of evidence, the case was presented with a strong and well-founded statement in court. Therefore, all grounds of the US Brand Company were sustained by the People’s Court of Qianhai District, Shenzhen, and the Hong Kong company was ordered to return the mistakenly transferred funds and bear the court fees for the US Brand Company.
This is a model case for unjust enrichment disputes and is instructive for future practice as it provides a creative solution for this type of case. The team’s legal performance, high responsibility, and quality and efficient legal services were well acknowledged by the client.
The case was led by Partners Christine KANG from Beijing headquarters, HU, Yanan from Shenzhen office, Tsui, Minglun (Alan Tsui) and Dennis Hu from Hong Kong office, and YIN, Xiao (Benjamin) from Shanghai.