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A trustee may be in breach of their duty whenever the trustee fails to carry out their obligations under the terms of the trust or by law. This failure may take the form of doing something contrary to the trust obligations, or of neglecting to do something that the trustee ought to have done. If the trustee has been honest and diligent, the courts are often unwilling to find that a breach has occurred at all. However, that is not always the case.
In the civil law context, it is a fundamental principle that once breach of trust is established, unless the court excuses the trustee from responsibility, beneficiaries are entitled to be compensated by the trustee for the loss which the breach of trust has caused. Our Estate, Trust, and Capacity Litigation Group has extensive experience in resolving issues arising over civil breach of trust.
Sometimes a trustee may be accused of acting exclusively in his or her own interest or of converting assets in the trust for personal benefit or gain. In these circumstances the prospect of criminal breach of trust may arise. If criminal breach of trust is established, potential repercussions for these charges are quite serious, with jail sentences resulting from conviction.
In these instances our clients have the benefit of a multi-dimensional defence, leveraging the support of our Criminal Litigation team when necessary. We understand how stressful and costly these matters can be. We have a well-earned reputation for providing highly respected, experienced and unwavering defence in criminal breach of trust matters.