A Federal Court judge has rejected a bid to compel probate professionals to provide an “unbiased, neutral” account of their role in a controversial probate dispute.
Key points:The lawyer representing the three women says they had to do it on their ownThe court heard the women had been promised money for their work when they left probateThe judge said the “burden” was “too great” to have to work for the “benefit of the public”The judge also rejected a petition to force the women to give an account of how they were treated during their time as probate court residents.
The women who represented the women in the probacy case in the Northern Territory’s high court were represented by barrister David Sperry QC.
But the lawyer representing them, lawyer Jacqueline Goulson, said they had no choice but to work on their behalf and that they had not been paid.
“It was very, very difficult,” she said.
“They had no other choice.
It’s just a matter of time.”
She said it was “the least we can do for them and the most reasonable thing to do”.
“It’s quite clear that their clients have been entitled to a fair and impartial account of what happened.”
Ms Goulsons lawyer told the court she was unaware of any case in which the court had found a lawyer had been paid to act for the benefit of the court.
Ms Goulsson said the women were told their services would be available to the public on a trial basis, but were instead asked to provide the “best professional account of proceedings” and a “fair and impartial report”.
The women were given $30,000 for their time.
She said they were not aware of any other case where a lawyer was asked to represent the public.
“I’m not aware that’s ever happened in the public sector,” she told the Federal Court.
“We’re not talking about a person that’s sitting on a bench in a courtroom or someone that’s doing an oral submission.”
Our clients have a right to be able to get this kind of account from a professional and we’re not going to be satisfied that that’s happening.
“Ms Sperrry said the case was “unfortunate” and “one of the worst I’ve ever heard”.”
I don’t think the public will get the best of what’s going on,” he said.
He also said he believed the women should not have to pay for their own legal advice.”
The public will have to get access to that if they want to have an independent, impartial, and independent view of the proceedings,” he told the Court.
The court has been told the women told their lawyer was not paid when they joined the court, but was offered the job when they returned to their home country.
The case was transferred to a Northern Territory Court in February this year.
Judge Andrew Tappin, who heard the case, said there was “no basis for believing that there was any breach of trust” and the matter would be referred to the High Court.
He said he would not be “brazen” in requiring the women’s account to be made public.
He added he would “not tolerate” the women being forced to give up their jobs as a result.
Topics:courts-and-trials,courts,justice,taupau-4330,nsw,nash-4740,arriba-4250First posted May 18, 2018 07:59:04Contact Melissa RaffertyMore stories from New South Wales