Albert owns his house in Groomsdale in Queensland (“the property”) which is unencumbered. Albert’s father, Barry, has offered to assist his son financially if he “ever really needs it”. Albert owned a shoe store which could not compete with internet competitors and recently closed down due to poor sales. Albert then reluctantly accepted his father’s offer of financial assistance. Albert saw his solicitor, Carmichael and outlined the arrangement. Carmichael was instructed to draft a loan agreement and mortgage and then provide the certificate of title to Barry. That same afternoon, erroneously thinking everything had been done, Albert then requested the loan monies from his father. Barry deposited funds into Albert’s bank account the next day. The Certificate of Title to the property was put in Carmichael’s safe.
However, Carmichael’s paralegal, David, was of poor character. He checked the firm’s safe custody packet for Albert who was a long-term client. Seeing many examples of his handwriting, he was then able to forge Albert’s signature on many documents.
David (pretending to be Albert) entered into a verbal contract with Ezibuy Pty Ltd. to sell the property to them. Ezibuy Pty Ltd checked the title to the property before settlement and obtained a signed and witnessed transfer document which appeared to be from Albert. Subsequently police forensic handwriting analysis proved the transfer was actually signed by David.
Barry is now extremely concerned as to the failure to have the loan documents finalised and the Certificate of Title sent to him. Ezibuy Pty Ltd lodged the transfer in the Titles Office Land Title Registry today for registration just as David’s plane landed in the Caribbean.
Advise all parties on their competing legal interests in the matter. Cite case law and legislation where necessary to support your answer.