Recent Cases

Mason v Triezenberg [2022] NZCA 138. I acted for the two continuing trustees in their successful defence of an appeal by their disgruntled former co-trustee, challenging his removal as a trustee by the High Court. Former trustee's application for leave to appeal to Supreme Court refused. Click to view pdf

Preston v Preston [2021] NZSC 154. I acted for the successful appellant in further appeal from Court of Appeal decision on whether trust should be varied under s182 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980. In a ground-breaking decision for trusts in the context of "non traditional" marriages and families, the Supreme Court agreed the trust should be varied, to provide for the ex-wife and her child. Click to view pdf

Preston v Preston [2020] NZCA 679. I acted for the appellant in partially successful appeal from decision of the High Court in a relationship property / trust dispute. Click to view pdf

Unkovich v Clapham [2020] NZHC 952, Whata J. Important decision on scope of trustee duties when making decisions. I acted for the successful beneficiary applicant. Click to view pdf

Oldfield v Oldfield [2020] NZHC 8, Duffy J. An important case on whether trusts should effectively be treated as relationship property and split into two under section 182 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980 when the marriage of the settlors ends. I acted for the trustee, The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company, successfully supporting retention of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries as a whole Click to view pdf

Sanderson v Foster [2019] NZCA 623; Foster v Christie [2018] NZHC 3103, [2019] NZAR 315. Dispute concerning whether New Zealand or Ireland was the forum conveniens where deceased domiciled in Ireland, but assets at issue were land in New Zealand (and there were other assets in Ireland).

Dodssuweit v Olivier [2019] NZHC 1227, Fitzgerald J. Testamentary capacity, undue influence and unconscionable bargain claims in relation to trust and estate planning arrangements. I acted for the named executor and trustee who took a neutral position with the consent of the Court. At times this is the appropriate approach to minimise costs and limit depletion of the trust and estate by legal fees. Click to view pdf

Triezenberg v Mason [2019] NZHC 14; [2019] NZHC 920, Fitzgerald J - successful application on behalf of three trustees of a dysfunctional trust to remove the third trustee. Click to view pdf In a subsequent decision the High Court amended the power of appointment and removal of trustees so that the remaining trustees held that power. Click to view pdf

Turner v Coombe [2018] NZAR 574; [2018] NZHC 315 - successful application on behalf of deceased's niece and nephew for interpretation of will favourable to them, notwithstanding poor drafting of the will. Click to view pdf

Clement v Lucas [2017] NZHC 3278 - successful application on behalf of unhappy beneficiary to set aside trustees' decision to sell land and divide proceeds, because trustees had not taken into account relevant considerations. Click to view pdf

Green v Green [2016] NZCA 486 - successful opposition to appeal of the decision of Winkelmann J. Important case on the scope of appellate review and the law on undue influence. Click to view pdf

Ropati v Ropati [2016] NZHC 2642 - successful application for directions on behalf of executors of estate as to repayments of loans made by family members to deceased / distribution of estate in circumstances of family friction. Click to view pdf

Green v Green [2015] NZHC 1218; [2015] NZHC 1526, Winklemann J. I successfully applied for removal of purported trustees and directors of the Hugh Green Group, on the grounds that their appointments were invalid, and their continuation in office was not in the interest of beneficiaries due to their hostility to my client Maryanne Green and her daughter Alice.

Laery v Grout [2014] NZHC 2495, Venning J. I successfully applied for the release of the deceased's medical and legal files to the interim administrator of her estate, following Laery v Grout [2014] NZHC 1881, Woolford J where I successfully applied for the appointment of an independent interim administrator.

Thurston v Thurston [2014] NZHC 2267, Toogood J - I successfully defended claims by widow to a trust-owned home under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, and succeeded in claiming substantial provision from the deceased's estate for his son and grandchildren under the Family Protection Act 1955. Click to view pdf

Green v Green [2014] NZHC 1991, Winklemann J - I succeeded in having aspects of affidavit evidence struck out under the Evidence Act 2006 on the grounds that it was inadmissible opinion, speculative and/or argumentative. Click to view pdf

Thompson v Thompson [2014] NZCA 117; [2013] NZHC [2001]; CHT v MLT [2013] NZFC 306 - I successfully defended claims against the trustees in relationship property and trust litigation in respect of a restraint of trade payment made to the husband consequent on the sale of a trust‑owned business. Click to view pdf

Thurston v Thurston [2013] NZHC 1886. I acted for the plaintiff beneficiary in a successful application to remove two trustees. Significantly, in the costs decisions ([2013] NZHC 3250) indemnity costs were awarded to the plaintiff, and an order made disentitling the defendants from recovering part of those costs from the trust fund.

Austin v Austin [2014] NZFC 1267, Judge Fleming - successful application for interim maintenance and sale of property in complex relationship property and trust proceedings, with cross-border issues.

S v P [CIV-2011-404-1245] 22 March 2011, Woolford J - successful application for freezing and ancillary orders in global trust dispute.

Rigg v Rigg FAM 2009-044-002295, 26 May 2011, Judge Ryan - I acted for trustees successfully defending an application for non-party discovery in relationship property proceedings.

Re McArthur - Sim v Broadbent CIV 2009-404-2032, 2 May 2011, Faire J - successful application by beneficiary to declare a suicide note a valid will under s14 Wills Act 2007.

Re Kerr - CIV-2013-425-13, HC Invercargill, 16 April 2013 - successful application for grant of letters of administration de bonis non in estate where letters of administration granted in 1887 but ownership of land belonging to the deceased was discovered in 2008