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Directions, Disclosure, Discovery, Trustee liability, Trustees, Trusts

Whose advice is it?

The Supreme Court decision granting leave to appeal the Court of Appeal decision regarding the disclosure of legal opinions and advice obtained by the trustees in Addleman v Lambie Trustee Limited (see Rights in information prevail) raises the thorny question, regarding how advice belongs to, or must be disclosed to, when legal advice is sought and paid for from trust funds.    As noted at [2] in the Supreme Court leave decision:

[2] We ask counsel for the applicant to include in her submissions to the Court such general information about the nature of the legal opinions and other advice as possible, so that the Court has a proper context in which to consider the privilege issues. For the avoidance of doubt, we confirm the Court does not seek to view the documents themselves. The hearing will be confined to issues of principle only.

The question of disclosure of advice to trustees and when and whether advice obtained by trustees can be paid for from the trust fund is a fact specific and live issue that warrants careful consideration.   For further consideration of the nature of such enquiries see Disclosure of legal advice.


  • Addleman v Lambie Trustee Limited [2017] NZHC 2054
  • Addleman v Lambie Trustee Limited [2019] NZCA 480
  • Lambie Trustee Limited v Addleman [2020] NZSC 14
  • McCallum v McCallum [2019] NZHC 1925



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