The Latest


As most of those with a Trust will be aware, gift duty was abolished in October 2011. This means that a gifting program can now be completed in "one hit". There are issues that you must consider before gifting in one hit such as whether there are any issues with creditors, and the ability to show solvency at the time the asset is moved and gifted into the trust. In addition, the Court of Appeal has recently confirmed a Ministry of Social Development (MSD) challenge to existing gifting programmes which have been completed at the rate of $27,000.00 per individual per year. The Court found that the MSD rules and regulations allow for a gift of $27,000.00 per couple, so at a rate of $13,500.00 each per year, rather than at $27,000.00 each, which has been the previous rate of gift.

The Law Commission is recommending some changes to the Trustee Act 1956. This proposed new law will set out the core characteristics of trusts and the duties of trustees.  The Law Commission has also set out to rectify the use of a trust to keep a former partner from their share of assets made during the relationship. It recommends that the Court be able to have the power to transfer the trust assets to compensate the disadvantaged party. The Law Commission has also recommended that a trust be able to exist for 150 years rather than the current 80 years.

Please contact one of our trust teams for further information or if you wish to discuss how these proposals may affect you. 

Social Media and Employment 

Click on this link to see our social media and employment article

Changes ahead for the Employment Relations Act 2000
Looking at the year ahead, we’re likely to see further reforms to the Employment Relations Act 2000, with the proposed changes anticipated to come into effect in the second half of the year.
One area of the proposed to further clarify Part 6A of the Act, which deals with ‘vulnerable workers’ whose work is affected by restructuring. The proposed changes include:
  • Exempting incoming employers with fewer than 20 employees from complying with Part 6A
  • Requiring outgoing employers to forward individual employee information to the incoming employer
  • Detailing a process to help outgoing and incoming employers to agree how to apportion accrued service-related entitlements of employees, and
  • Adding additional penalties and compliance orders for non-compliance with Part 6A.

Amendments to the collective bargaining regime are also expected, including changes to:

  • Empower the Employment Relations Authority to declare the end of collective bargaining in certain circumstances
  • Allow employers to opt-out of multi-employer bargaining
  • Allow partial pay reductions in cases of partial strike action, and
  • Remove the requirement for non-union members to be employed under the terms and conditions of a collective agreement (where one is in force which covers their work) for the first 30 days of employment.

Other changes include amending the duty of good faith in section 4 to align it more closely with the privacy principles in the Privacy Act 1983, and extending the right to request flexible working arrangements to all employees, from their first day of employment.

More details on the proposed changes can be found at

Changes in Family Law

Sweeping changes to the Family Court system will silence children, impose financial barriers on parents and lead to "bloody" legal battles and a spike in domestic violence, welfare agencies and experts fear.


To read more: Changes to New Zealand Family Court


Civil Fees Review

Some of the proposals to change civil court fees should not go ahead because they will create barriers to access to justice and could even be considered unconstitutional, the New Zealand Law Society says.


To read more: Civil Fees Review


Deed of Lease

There have been recent changes to the Auckland District Law Society Deed of Lease document.  One of the major changes in the Sixth Edition is the inclusion of a Consumer Price Index (CPI) rent review clause and another change is in respect of the portion of outgoings payable by your tenant.

To read more:  Deed of Lease


Contract Construction Act 2002




The Construction Contracts Act 2002 was created to help ensure the construction industry remained stable through regular, timely progress payments to contractors, to provide quick resolution of construction disputes and to offer effective remedies for recovering payments owed.


To read more:  Contract Construction Act 2002


Why Use A Lawyer?

Information to help you decide when to use a lawyer and how you might benefit from getting an expert involved. See link.


Introduction to Legal Aid - There are two main types of legal aid, civil and criminal:


Civil legal aid


Civil legal aid enables people with limited financial resources to have a lawyer of their choice conduct cases in all courts and many tribunals. Those granted civil legal aid are expected to make some degree of contribution to the cost and, in appropriate cases, may even be expected to eventually repay the full cost of the services they receive.


In general terms, civil cases are those taken by private persons, as opposed to criminal cases when an alleged offender is prosecuted by the state. Civil cases include proceedings in the Family Court, Employment Court, Waitangi Tribunal and other courts and tribunals.


Criminal legal aid


This scheme ensures that people facing the more serious criminal charge who cannot afford to pay a lawyer from their own resources are provided, in the interests of justice, with a suitably qualified lawyer assigned to them by the court. People granted criminal legal aid may sometimes be asked to make a contribution to the cost, but most are not required to pay anything at all.