Monday, March 6, 2017

Case of the Day: Estate of Cheng Ron Tan, 2017 N.Y.L.J. LEXIS 252 (N.Y. Surr. Ct. Jan. 30, 2017)


Decedent Tan's will was admitted to probate in New York Surrogate Court, which ordered the respondent certain real estate located in Guangzhou, China to be transferred.  The respondent failed to transfer, and fired his attorney who appeared in New York. Court issued an order to show cause why the respondent should not be held in contempt.


Here is one more iteration of this blog's favorite topic--transnational family law! This case fits neatly with my forthcoming paper, Equity ExtraterritorialityIn this case, the court in New York is conveying real estate located in China. Traditionally in English law, the law court lacked the ability to issue an order to convey title to real estate. On the other hand, the equity court could issue such an order, under the theory that the equity court may order a person under its jurisdiction to take certain actions, even if those actions take place outside of the court's territorial jurisdiction. My paper tackles the natural question arising from this:  isn't this a contradiction? Isn't "equity extraterritoriality" just as extraterritorial as any extraterritorial application of American law?

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