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Case of Dispute over Real Estate triggered by love affair between an Englishman and a Shanghai Lady

Time:2016-8-26    867 View

Case Review:

In year of 2003, an Englishman Aaron fell in love with Cathy, a Shanghai lady, and they had cohabited since 2007. Then, they both decided to set up a company in Shanghai and Aaron planned to purchase an apartment as office. Aaron was not qualified to purchase an apartment in Shanghai since he was a foreigner. Under the requirement of Cathy, Aaron remitted altogether RMB1,577,500 Yen with 67,500 pound and RMB564,946.40 Yen to the bank accounts of Cathy and her sister Lisa for purchasing an apartment in Shanghai from June 15 of 2007 to December 18 of 2008. Later, Cathy bought an apartment in Shanghai on October 12 of 2007, which was registered under her name in early 2009. In 2013, they broke up for some reason. Aaron asked Cathy for many times returning the apartment but was refused. Then he brought a lawsuit against Cathy and Lisa claiming 70% of the apartment value. In order to support his claim, he submitted e-mails among Cathy, Lisa and him and certificates of remittance as evidence. However, Cathy denied that it was Aaron’s contribution to the apartment and argued that the e-mail account was not hers. As to the bank accounts, she said one did not exist and the amount received by the other account was used as daily expense of cohabitation. Besides, Lisa argued that the remittance she received was used to exchange which was irrelevant to the apartment and the e-mail account was not hers either.

Legal Analysis:

The attorneys Haijun Zhang and Wenlong Yu of Shanghai Nuodi Lawfirm represented Aaron in this case. Fisrt of all, they applied to the court for property preservation toward Cathy’s property, which laid a solid foundation for future execution. They analyzed that the focus of the case lied in three aspects: whether the e-mail accounts are Cathy’s and Lisa’s; the bank accounts which received the remittance are Cathy’s and Lisa’s; whether the remittance was used to purchase the apartment. With the help of our attorneys, Aaron presented a series of evidence including notarization and authentication of remittance certificates, translation transcripts, bank statements and notarization of e-mails, etc. which forms a complete chain of evidence and secures the favored judgment greatly.

According to the bank accounts of Cathy and Lisa mentioned in the e-mails of Aaron, the court found through investigation they were actually Cathy’s and Lisa’s, besides, the remittance amount and remittance date conformed to the evidence of Aaron, therefore the court found the e-mail accounts were Cathy’s and Lisa’s. Further, the court found the purpose of the remittance amounts was purchasing the apartment based on the e-mails content. What’s more, the purchasing time and initial payment amount agreed with the remittance time and amount of Aaron, so the court found the remittance was used to purchase an apartment. Although Cathy claimed that it was used in other purposes but failed to prove instead. Finally, the court ruled that Cathy should pay 60% of the apartment’s value to Aaron in ten days, which was over RMB20,00,000Yen.

The general standard about distribution of burden of proof in civil case in our country is that "who claim, who quote. " In this case, the evidence presented by Aaron matches up with the facts found out by the court, and the e-mail content of Aaron matches up with the remittance time, so it concludes that the evidential effect reaches the high degree of probability. The theory of high degree of probability stems from the system of discretional evaluation in western countries and it advocates prove standard of civil case only needs to reach certain degree of probability. The reality is the ultimate aim of the judicial proof, but due to the limit of time and space, the people’s understanding of the case facts is unable to reflect the absolute true colors, therefore, the proof standard of the civil case is only legal facts.

The Certain Rules on Civil Action Evidence of Supreme People’s Court establishes the rule of high degree of probability in our country. Article 73 of the Certain Rules stipulates the People’s Court shall decide whether the probative force of civil evidence of one party is greater obviously than that of the other party combined with the case conditions and confirm the evidence with greater probative force. Article 63 also provides the People’s court shall judge based on the case facts which can be proved by evidence. Once the evidence presented by one party is more persuasive than that of the other party, thus it proves that the possibility of the existence of the dispute facts is greater than that of nonexistence. In this case, Cathy failed to present rebuttal evidence, so the judge ruled the case in favor of Aaron based on his inner conviction.


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