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Family Law — Property: Trusts Act 2019 commentary (new Westlaw New Zealand)

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As everyone involved in family property law will know, the old Trustee Act 1956 is finally repealed and the majority of the new Trusts Act 2019 came into force on 30 January. This has been a long time coming. It is well known that much of trust law was not enshrined in the Act but had evolved, by necessity, through the courts, so formalising the law in legislation has been much awaited.

Our General Editor for Family Law Property and author for the Trusts chapter is Emeritus Professor Nicola Peart. Professor Peart was part of the Law Commission’s seven-person reference group that provided their expertise and advice for the report and recommendations that the Commission presented to the Minister in 2013 when work on a new Trusts Act was beginning (Law Commission Review of the Law of Trusts: A Trusts Act for New Zealand (NZLC R130, 2013)).

The Trusts chapter in Family Law — Property has been a discursive chapter, rather than the annotated Act format. Professor Peart decided that with the new Act, it would be a good opportunity to use the annotated legislation method, a style much favoured by customers for easier referencing and quicker research. This was an easy decision to agree on, but rather than taking the usual approach of publishing the file and adding commentary on the cases as they come through, Professor Peart decided to include a considerable amount of commentary, explaining the meaning of the sections as well as including useful commentary and case links from the old chapter. This, of course, has resulted in a massive amount of work but an incredibly useful result.  

We now have a thorough introduction covering the key changes to the existing law and an overview of areas not covered by the Trusts Act; and we have the Trusts Act with commentary throughout pts 1–3, with the rest of the commentary being added throughout the regular updates, along with commentary for the cases going through the courts now under the new Act as well.

We have not included a comparative table, as is often provided when one Act replaces another, because it would not be possible to achieve an effective result as much of the trusts law now included in the new Act was not in the Trustee Act 1956 but evolved through the courts.

We are indebted to Professor Emeritus Nicola Peart for her initiative and the tremendous amount of work she has put into the product, whilst continuing to undertake her other many and varied weighty responsibilities. She has not made it easy for herself! We are very proud to be able to provide commentary to our hard-working, committed family lawyers and judges by a person of Nicola’s calibre and standing in the field.

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