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Question: equity australian law robyn is a real estate manager...

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Equity Australian Law ,


Robyn is a real estate manager employed by Lightwad Bank Ltd., doing business in throughout Australia. Robyn is from Sydney.


Lightwad as part of its investment portfolio owns 30 flats all of which are in the same building which it bought when prices were low. It sometimes allows its interstate employees and visitors like Robyn to stay in one of these flats for free.


Robyn during her frequent visits in Perth periodically stays in one of these flats - call it ‘Robyn’s flat’. She decides she wants to migrate to Perth. She negotiates an option to buy Robyn’s flat for a relatively modest sum, reflecting the fact that she is a valued employee, exercisable after a specific date. Call it – ‘the Option’. The Option is duly executed respectively by Robyn and by a representative on behalf of Lightwad. Prima facie the Option is valid and could prima facie be exercisable by Robyn at the appropriate time.


Robyn being experienced in real estate immediately makes known her desire to lodge a caveat in respect of her interest in Robyn’s flat under the Option. She is however persuaded by Lightwad not to lodge a caveat, on the basis that Lightwad, being the registered proprietor, actually has physical possession of the duplicate certificate of title and therefore would know if someone sought to lodge any interest against the title and would immediately advise her if that was the case (for those unfamiliar with Western Australian conveyancing practice, Landgate holds the original certificate of title and a duplicate certificate of title is issued to the landowner).


Lightwad further explains that they are in the process of putting up all the flats in the building for sale and it ‘would not sound nice’ to say that one is not available for sale because an option to buy it has been granted to one of their employees and that ‘saying that 30 flats are for sale sounds better than 29’.


All this gives Robyn some comfort. But particularly comforting to Robyn is the fact that the duplicate certificate of titles are all kept in a large safe, and that only two people have access to its contents, Robyn herself, and a very senior manager.


Lightwad unfortunately clean forgets about the Option. Subsequently, Victor enters into a contract for sale with Lightwad for the purchase of Robyn’s flat. Prior to executing a contract of sale, he searches the register and sees that the title is unencumbered.  He then enters into a contract of sale. Prior to registration, matters come to a head.


Now answer the following question, and discuss the legal reasoning and authorities to support your answer:


As between Robyn’s and Victor’s unregistered interests, who has priority?


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