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Case details

Byers and others (Appellants) v Ningning (Respondent) (British Virgin Islands)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0082

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (British Virgin Islands)

Case summary


The central issue on this appeal is whether the Respondent acted in breach of any fiduciary duty when US$13 million was transferred from Pioneer Freight Futures Company Limited (the "Company") to a third party shortly before the Company entered into provisional liquidation.

In particular, the Privy Council is asked to consider whether the Court of Appealed erred in:

  1. failing to interfere with the trial judge’s factual findings that: (a) Miss Chen was neither a director nor shadow director of the Company at the time of the payment; (b) Miss Chen did not cause or procure the payment; and (c) Miss Chen was not in breach of any fiduciary duty to the Company; and
  2. holding that no order for relief should be made against Miss Chen under section 249 of the Insolvency Act 2003.


The First and Second Appellants, Mr Bryers and Mr McDonald, are the joint liquidators of the Company. The Respondent, Miss Chen, is the former director and sole beneficial owner of the Company. Shortly before the Company entered into provisional liquidation, approximately US$13 million was transferred from its bank account to one of its creditors, Zenato Investments Limited ("Zenato"). Zenato was operated by one of Miss Chen’s acquaintances in the People’s Republic of China, Song Dingding. The Appellants claim that Miss Chen acted in breach of her fiduciary duties to the Company by causing or procuring this payment.



  1. Mark Byers
  2. Mark McDonald
  3. Pioneer Freight Futures Company Ltd (in Liquidation)


Chen Ningning (also known as Diana Chen)



Lord Kerr, Lord Briggs, Lady Arden, Lord Kitchin, Lord Leggatt

Hearing start date

04 Jun 2020

Hearing finish date

04 Jun 2020

Watch hearing
04 Jun 2020 Morning session Afternoon session

Judgment details

Judgment date

22 Feb 2021

Neutral citation

[2021] UKPC 4