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The balancing act, in a nutshell


Trust law is a balancing act.

It’s a trade-off, if you like, between ‘authority’ and ‘accountability’.

‘authority’ is the idea that, within bounds, trustees should be able to do what they want.

‘accountability’ is the opposing idea, that practical limits should be placed on trustees; that they should be answerable for their decisions.

Broadly speaking, trustees want authority; and beneficiaries want accountability.


In this tug of war, the balance is now generally tipping in favour of beneficiaries who want more accountability. This makes it a very risky time for trustees who want to push the limits of their authority.



For further information about some of the cases that show how this tug of war between ‘authority’ and ‘accountability’ has played out contact us or call (03) 477 8080

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