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Recent Cases

  • Oldfield v Oldfield [2020] NZHC, 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
  • Re New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited [2019] NZHC 2549, Lang J. Novel, successful application to substitute trustee of 1303 trusts under the Trustee Act 1956 and executor of 887 trusts under the Administration Act 1969. 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).  Click to view pdf1 Click to view pdf2
  • 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
  • Van Dam v Went [2015] NZHC 1457 –  I successfully applied for disclosure of financial statements of trust-owned companies and subsidiary companies for trust beneficiaries, when disclosure was opposed by the trustees.  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. Click to view pdf1  Click  to view pdf2
  • 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.  Click  to view pdfClick  to view pdf2


Vanessa Bruton QC
O’Connell Chambers
Level 5, Old South British Building
3-13 Shortland Street, Auckland
PO Box 105 270, Auckland 1143

+64 9 358 5755+ 64 21 887 587