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Key decisions

  • O’Loughlin v Arnott [2014] VSC 416
  • Steiner v Strang [2014] NSWSC 1250
  • Estate of JA Gilmore, deceased [2014] NSWSC 1263
  • Allwood v Benjafield [2014] NSWCA 355
  • Oakes v Oakes [2014] NSWSC 1312
  • Beck v Henley [2014] NSWCA 201
  • Arnott v Kiss [2014] NSWSC 1385
  • Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health services v JT [2014] QSC 251
  • Re Dion Investments Pty Ltd [2014] NSWCA 367
  • Wilcox v Wilcox (No2) [2014] NSWSC 88

Restraining a solicitor acting for a claimant against the estate of a former client

Committee colleague, Ray Ward, has drawn my attention to the following decision. Victorian solicitor, Brendan Hardman, acted for Geoff Arnott and Annette O’Loughlin in preparing their wills. Arnott made a later will with another solicitor. After his death, Ms O’Loughlin instructed Hardman to bring a family provision claim for her. The estate’s solicitors successfully sought to restrain Hardman from acting for Ms O’Loughlin. The Victorian Supreme Court considered that the solicitor was privy to the basis for the original testamentary arrangements. This put him in a situation where there was “a real and sensible possibility of the misuse of confidential information” because “discussions and deliberations, prior to the preparation and execution of a will are confidential, private and presumably sensitive”. There was a real risk of Hardiman using that information against the executors and by extension his former client, the deceased: O’Loughlin v Arnott [2014] VSC 416.

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