Restitution, equity and trusts

I give advice and conduct litigation in relation to equitable claims such as breach of fiduciary duty, knowing receipt, knowing assistance, undue influence, unconscionability, and so on. My work also covers common law restitutionary/unjust enrichment claims, such as money had and received.

In relation to trusts, my focus tends to be on disputes about the interpretation of trust deeds, and the powers and obligations of trustees, both in the context of commercial trusts, such as superannuation schemes, and family trusts.

Some examples include:

  • defending for corporate clients two recent, separate High Court proceedings for money had and received and knowing receipt. In each case the claim was discontinued;
  • acting for the trustees of a discretionary trust in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in their successful defence of a proceeding brought by a beneficiary seeking access to trust information. Also in issue was whether the interests of a discretionary and final beneficiary can constitute “property” under the Insolvency Act 2006;
  • advising the trustees of various corporate superannuation schemes as to their obligations in relation to the distribution of fund surpluses;
  • advising the trustees of discretionary family trusts of their obligations in deciding which discretionary beneficiaries should receive a distribution;
  • representing a group of retired plan members in a High Court proceeding against a company and its trustees in relation to a superannuation fund surplus. The case settled before trial.
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