Twyne's Case

Twyne’s case (1601) 76 ER 809 is a UK insolvency law case, concerning a fraudulent conveyance. Representative of earlier English law, it was considered that any transfer of property from a debtor to a creditor, after which the debtor remained in possession of that property, was a fraudulent act intended to defraud creditors. At the time, the law only recognised the mortgage and the pledge. A charge on property in possession of another was not allowed.


Pierce, a farmer, owed Twyne of Hampshire £400. He also owed another creditor £200, and this creditor brought an action. While the writ was pending, Pierce sold his sheep to Twyne to pay off his debt. However, Pierce remained in possession of the sheep, marking and shearing them. At the other creditor’s instance, the Sheriff of Southampton came to collect the sheep. Twyne and his acquaintances resisted this. Twyne argued that he was a bona fide purchaser for valuable, and not inadequate, consideration within the Fraudulent Conveyances Act 1584 (27 Eliz c 4).


The Star Chamber (Sir Thomas Egerton, Chief Justice Popham and Anderson) held this was an attempt to defraud his creditors under the Fraudulent Conveyances Act 1571 (13 Eliz c 5). The following reasons were given.It was further held that the gift may have been on good consideration, but could not be bona fide.