Trustee liability is an important aspect of the role of a trustee that must be managed and protection sought when possible. Where trustees are uncertain as to the appropriate course of action, or more commonly want to safely embark on a course of action, s 66 of the Trustee Act 1956 enables trustees to apply to the Court for directions concerning any property subject to a trust or respecting the management or administration of any such property or respecting the exercise of any power or discretion vested in the trustee. A trustee acting under a direction from the court is protected from liability for any act subsequently declared to have been a breach of trust provided that the trustees is not guilty of fraud, wilful concealment or misrepresentation in obtaining the court’s direction. See the Trustee Act 1956 at s 69
In New Zealand Māori Council v Foulkes, Kós J described the s 69 as “simply an enactment of a broad Equitable jurisdiction that has long resided in the Chancery Courts.”
As noted by Kós J at  the ambit of s 66 is not confined to mere points of minor importance but rather provides a “parallel source of jurisdiction to resolve any substantial question of law concerning the meaning or administration of a trust.”
However, s 66 is not generally an appropriate avenue where there are disputed issues of fact.