The Truth

The truth. How law firm Russell Kennedy managed my mother`s estate.

To help support this site please link to purchase the book:                 Lawyers or Grave Robbers?

Contact Diarmuid Tel 0401416305                                                         email charada@mira.net

A true story about one of Melbourne`s most trusted law firms.

Russell Kennedy Broken Trust

The poem Lawyers or grave robbers. 

Performed at the steps of Russell Kennedy`s tower,  Latrobe Street Melbourne May 18 2013.

Lawyers or Grave Robbers ?

pin, stript suits on coffin diggers

stealin tha bones from tha last will inheritance!

soffenin money from the sculls o tha dead!

LAWYERS OR GRAVE ROBBERS?

plunderin tha estates with red tape!

tearin tha families o tha departed apart

mournin their loss of mummy or money!

both soon ta be just memories

LAWYERS OR GRAVE ROBBERS?

year desecrated the bank account an grave!

now ya should be afraid cos yer gonna pay!

that old boys tie is getting tighter

that hole ya dug is getting deeper

LAWYERS OR GRAVE ROBBERS?

THERE`S NO FORKEN DIFFERENCE!!

My own involvement with family inheritance law commenced soon after my mother`s death.

In my own families situation we encountered a lawyer Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, who were assisted by this firm`s resident wills and probate specialist Arthur Bolkas.

Problems occurred from the outset in relation to communication.

My mother in her will had appointed one of my sisters and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy at the time of her death to be executors. Her estate was to be split into four equal shares among her four children. One share that is my own share was placed into a discretionary trust a trust that could at the discretion of the trustees distribute all or part of the capital and all or part of the interest to any member of my own family including myself. The trust was set up upon the advice of Ian Bult in order to protect my share of the estate from my trustees in bankruptcy. At no time was I ever a bankrupt or put into a position where I would be made bankrupt.

Since my share of the estate was not under any threat my sister along with my other brother and sister all agreed that the best course of action for my mother’s family was to use her discretion as trustee and grant me all of the capital and all of the interest in the discretionary trust and hence split the estate equally as per the will.

The lawyer Ian Bult and the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy disagreed with the family and the family member executor on the interpretation of the will. Ian Bult of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy stated he had in his possession a letter written to him by our mother six years prior to her death that supported his and the members of Russell Kennedy’s interpretation of my mother’s will. Ian Bult stated there were other reasons apart from financial reasons as to why he would not release all of the capital and all of the interest from my share of the estate to me. When requested by the family and the family member executor for evidence Ian Bult who was representing the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy stated the letter was privileged and withheld it from the family. After six years the letter has finally been revealed to the family by Paul Gleeson, because Ian Bult had retired and Paul Gleeson was appointed as the new trustee.

As there were no other reasons stated by my mother in the contents of the letter, and Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy have specified the letter as the evidence they hold for the interpretation of my mother’s will, one has to conclude that Ian Bult on behalf of the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy lied about or misconstrued its contents to the children of my mother and used that lie or misconstruction to bully and intimidate the family member executor not to join in the probate of the will. My mother specifically stated to Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy in her letter that they as lawyers act in conjunction with her daughter, my youngest sister, as none of her children had experience in wills or taxation law and that she understood that it can be a mine field.

Instead Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy set up a dispute with my sister (the family nominated executor) that was based upon a lie or a misconstruction created by them which they knew could not be verified. My sister refused to agree with their fabrication but Ian Bult when representing the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, then intimidated a grieving daughter with a fully loaded commitment to her own family into a position of submission, a position that bought about a nervous breakdown that prevented her from carrying out her role as executor of my mother`s estate. Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, in fact betrayed the trust bestowed upon them as lawyers by my mother and broke her will. The result was catastrophic for the internal family relationships and severely eroded the value of the estate available for the beneficiaries to the amount of at least $180,000 in excess fees and financial waste.

I initially questioned the Law Institute of Victoria and The Legal Services Commissioner about the right of the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to withhold the crucial letter and was informed that they were acting within the law. I then raised this matter with both the state and federal Attorney Generals without success. I asked the Attorney Generals what gave a lawyer, Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, the right to impose his will and interpretation of my mother’s wishes over that of all of her children without providing the evidence he held. Again I was met with explanations that did not extract the evidence.

I wrote a submission to the Queensland Law Reform Commission on Australian Uniform Ascendancy Laws suggesting a need to totally overhaul our process regarding inheritance laws.

I suggested:

The power imbalance under the current law, between a lawyer (Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy) who is the executor and the family of the deceased needed to be changed so as to place the family in a dominant position.
That the implementation of quality standards for lawyers who are acting as executors as was the case of Ian Bult of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy was an essential requirement to prevent the plundering of family inheritance by lawyers.
The need for compulsory training of lawyers who are acting as executors in matters of mediation and alternative dispute resolution so as to insure that untrained lawyers like Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy are prevented from damaging innocent Australian families in pursuit of a dollar.
A cheaper and simpler way of sorting out inheritance matters with the use of non-lawyer run tribunals, instead of lawyers like Ian Bult who charged the estate $450 per hour plus G S T and was represented by Arthur Bolkas an employee of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy who charged $350 per hour. A total cost of $900 dollars per hour to the estate when they had a conversation with one another about problems the law firm and Ian Bult had created through their own dishonest acts.

After writing so much I then wrote the book “Lawyers or Grave Robbers?” which poses the question. Are lawyers who act as executors acting as lawyers or are they just grave robbing? Hence the origin of this web site.

I then returned to The Victorian Legal Services Commissioner and informed her of the inheritance rights, family rights and human rights abuses that my mother’s family had endured through the actions of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult.

I was informed that lawyers who act as executors are not bound by the Victorian Legal Professional Act 2004, and those lawyers in private practice are not bound by the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and that she was not going to investigate Ian Bult or the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy.

This is despite the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult perpetuating the following inheritance rights family rights abuses upon me, my own family and my mother’s family.

Abuse of The Victorian Charter of Human Rights by Ian Bult and the prestigious Melbourne Law firm Russell Kennedy.

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights. Section 8: Recognition and equality before the law.

(1) Every person has the right to recognition as a person before the law.

(2) Every person has the right to enjoy his or her human rights without discrimination.

(3) Every person is equal before the law and is entitled to the equal protection of the law without discrimination and has the right to equal and effective protection against discrimination.

(4) Measures taken for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons disadvantaged because of discrimination do not constitute discrimination.

In this case Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy discriminated against my mother`s children by not sharing the information they had with them, including her nominated family representative. Their sentiment goes as follows: I am a lawyer thus I have a right that empowers me over you because of my position as a lawyer.

In our families case, Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy disagreed with the family and were permitted to further empower themselves over the family and break the contract of trust imparted to them with our late mother through her will by bullying and intimidating the family member executor to not participate in probate whilst perpetuating a lie or a misconstruction, thus discriminating against the whole of the family. Discrimination occurs when one group in the culture is far more powerful than the group it exploits, as the whites in Africa exploited and discriminated against the blacks. Discrimination and empowerment of a privileged cartel are the twin sisters of racism.

It is universally knowledge that inheritance inequity is one of the main drivers of discrimination between family members which leads to the destruction of extended family networks. This process impedes upon those families development in Australia, and will impact upon migrant families more severely than the established population due to their paucity in extended family networks who are supportive at times of death in their home nations but have often been replaced by lawyers in Australia.

Because the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner is aware of this discrimination against a less powerful group within Victoria that are prone to discrimination by lawyers like Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy who act as executors or deal in deceased estates matters the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner is bound to act upon the problem so as these human rights abuses stop.

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights. 13: Privacy and reputation

A person has the right not to have his or her —

(a) privacy, family, home or correspondence unlawfully or arbitrarily interfered with; and

(b) reputation unlawfully attacked.

Reputation is founded upon inter family relationships, the way inheritance is distributed between a parent and child will go to the core of an individual’s reputation. Reputation is affected both internally and externally. Our reputation is how we see ourselves and how others see us; our reputation is formed through an accumulation of our historical actions. How children’s reputations are created begins with their relationships within their families. Within my own mother`s family through its understanding of its relationships, made a decision on how our mother`s will should be interpreted, based upon their recognition of each and every bodies understanding of their reputation and that of our family. Ian Bult and the members of the the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy after being told how their actions would adversely impact upon that reputation of the family and of the individuals who make up the family, still chose to ignore the requests from all members of my mother`s family or provide the evidence that Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy stated they had to support their actions. Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy did not allow for the family to interpret the information or to discuss an equitable resolution. Instead Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy recommended the removal of the family member executor, thus breaking the contract of the will.

The Victorian Legal Services Commissioner`s failure to act on his knowledge of the above events unlawfully supports an attack on my own reputation and that of our family.

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights. 15: Freedom of expression

(1) Every person has the right to hold an opinion without interference.

(2) Every person has the right to freedom of expression which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, whether within or outside Victoria and whether—

(a) orally; or

(b) in writing; or

(c) in print; or

(d) by way of art; or

(e) in another medium chosen by him or her.

(3) Special duties and responsibilities are attached to the right of freedom of expression and the right may be subject to lawful restrictions reasonably necessary—

(a) to respect the rights and reputation of other persons; or

(b) for the protection of national security, public order, public health or public morality.

The relevant section is “the right to hold an opinion without interference”. To hold an opinion requires information in order to substantiate ones position. The ability to have an opinion and how the opinion is formed begins before birth and transcends to death. Opinions are formed in the beginning through inter family interaction. So to hold an opinion about a family matter goes to the core of one’s development.

The members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult have denied a family, information that was openly assessable when my mother was alive, to allow her children to form an opinion of what her last wishes were. The actions of the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult have denied my family to hold an opinion about one of the closest elements that families have, the transfer of inheritance from one generation to the next; the transfer of inheritance incorporates the life time history of a family unit. It displays the trust between parent and child and the trust between the children and that parent. When those trusts are interfered with by an outside member of the family without reasonable explanation and the equality of inheritance distribution is changed, the fine balance of trust can be shattered, as is the case with my mother`s family.

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights.                                              17: Protection of families and children

(1) Families are the fundamental group unit of society and are entitled to be protected by society and the State.

(2) Every child has the right, without discrimination, to such protection as is in his or her best interests and is needed by him or her by reason of being a child.

Families are the fundamental group unit of society and are entitled to be protected by society and the State [refer to the above points under sections 8, 13 and 15].

Considering the following points of fact:

The members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult failed to show evidence of their position when asked.
After six years with a change of trustees from Ian Bult to Paul Gleeson, the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy finally produced the evidence that should have been forthcoming when my sister, the family nominated executor requested it.
This evidence proves that Ian Bult lied to or deceived the children of their dead mother about her final wishes and was supported by the the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy.
The members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult bullied and intimidated the family member executor to resign based upon the lie.
The members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult were told by all members of the family, one a medical practitioner and the other a trained psychologist that their actions would damage the family and the value of the inheritance at their own financial gain.
The members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult broke the fiduciary trust bestowed upon them by my mother when they misconstrued important information to my sister and my mother`s children regarding their mother`s wishes and refused to work in conjunction with my sister and my mother`s children as my mother had requested of them in the letter..
By doing so the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult broke contract of the will.
The members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult destroyed the interpersonal relations between my mother’s children.
The members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult through poor administration and unnecessary legal fees denied my mother’s children at least $180,000 in the value of their inheritance.

This is a true example of an inheritance rights abuse by an Australian lawyer Ian Bult and the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy. It is also a family rights abuse and a human rights abuse by an Australian lawyer, the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and the members of law firm Russell Kennedy.

The lawyer Ian Bult who assumed the role of executor from the members of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy has not provided any proof that he has taken part in any up to date training in conflict resolution.

An employee of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, Daniel Kelliher openly admitted during a telephone conversation that as lawyers they did not work with quality standards when dealing with deceased estates.

The Victorian Legal Services Commissioner has not implemented mandatory training for lawyers who act as executors or implemented mandatory standards by which they operate incorporating section 17 of The Victorian Charter of Human Rights. Due to the fact that the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner is aware of many instances within Victoria involving the legal profession and the human rights abuses of families by them when dealing with deceased estates and has not acted to incorporate section 17 of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights to guide their activities, this lack of action is itself an abuse of Victorians Human Rights, particularly when you consider the amount of money that is currently available for exploitation by unaccountable self-serving lawyers.

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights. 19: Cultural rights

(1) All persons with a particular cultural, religious, racial or linguistic background must not be denied the right, in community with other persons of that background, to enjoy his or her culture, to declare and practise his or her religion and to use his or her language.

(2) Aboriginal persons hold distinct cultural rights and must not be denied the right, with other members of their community—

(a) to enjoy their identity and culture; and

(b) to maintain and use their language; and

(c) to maintain their kinship ties; and

(d) to maintain their distinctive spiritual, material and economic relationship with the land and waters and other resources with which they have a connection under traditional laws and customs.

The relevant section is ‘cultural rights to maintain their kinship ties’. The Charter states that this section is only applicable to Aboriginal people. I suggest that from an ethical perspective the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner should act on behalf of every ethnicity in our multicultural society and are bound by the Victorian Charter of Human Rights in my case as with many migrant Victorians who although not aboriginal, understand the imperative of kinship, each family arriving in Australia being limited in kin to their immediate family. Destruction of those kinships through adversarial legal tactics that only benefit self-serving unaccountable lawyers when dealing with deceased estates is an abuse of those families’ kinship rights.

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights. 20: Property rights.

A person must not be deprived of his or her property other than in accordance with law.

Again I state that The Victorian legal Services Commissioner is bound to act in my case as with many other Victorians who are introduced to an expensive, often unaccountable and lengthy legal process when encountering a deceased estate, a process that directs large amount of property away from the people who are entitled to it and into the hands of a powerful and select group within our state.

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights. 24: Fair hearing

A person charged with a criminal offence or a party to a civil proceeding has the right to have the charge or proceeding decided by a competent, independent and impartial court or tribunal after a fair and public hearing.

What fairer hearing than to have all of one`s children decide the destiny of your family Instead of lawyers such as the members of Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult who have broken the trust bestowed upon them by lying to the children of their dead mother about her final wishes.

The members of Russell Kennedy are:

The persons named as executors named In the Supreme Court of Victoria Probate Jurisdiction, in the will of Elizabeth Moira Hannigan are:

Ian Fraser Bult of Russell Kennedy named as executor with leave being reserved to (my sister) and the following members of Russell Kennedy. Michael Douglas Main, Bruce Wayne Kent, John Mathew James Corcoran, Michael William Gorton, Ross Fraser Hodges, Paul Gerard Gleeson, Wai Hwoon Low, Damian Thomas Neylon, Victor Anthony Harcourt, Robert Anthony Ewing, Colin Robert Taylor, Andrew James Sherman, Leslie Andrew Fox, Andrew Bruce Van Ingen, Julie Callea-Smyth, Leonard Adrian Warren, Sebastian John Michael Saccuzzo, Rohan David Harris and Rosemary Barbara South Gate.

By Mark Russell
September 25, 2005

WHEN a senior Melbourne magistrate heard the case of how the frustrated son of a deceased dentist had attacked the solicitor who drew up his father’s will, he called on the State Government to change the laws for disputed wills. But that was five years ago and magistrate Robert Tuppen, who retired from the bench on Tuesday, is still waiting for authorities to act.

Mr Tuppen raised his concerns when told the estate of dentist David Austin White had been estimated at $550,000, until a family dispute over the will ended up before the Supreme Court. White’s son, Mark, his two siblings and their mother had become embroiled in the dispute, which included her $300,000 winning Tattslotto ticket.

The subsequent legal fees spent trying to resolve the issue reduced the estate’s value to just $90,000, and tensions boiled over during a mediation hearing. An angry and disillusioned Mark White pushed the solicitor, Keswick Steel, into a wall and then bloodied his head and nose in a scuffle. White pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury and was fined $750. At the end of the case, Mr Tuppen called for changes to allow some will disputes to be heard in lesser jurisdictions so people were not “deprived of everything”.

The law in Victoria currently requires any disputes involving deceased estates valued at more than $15,000 to be heard in the Supreme Court, with cases often costing tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. A bipartisan parliamentary committee headed by Labor MP Rob Hudson was set up two years ago to investigate the issue but was put on hold while attempts were made to set up a uniform national model to administer deceased estates, wills, family provisions and intestacy.

The national review, initiated by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, is being co-ordinated by the Law Reform Commission of Queensland, but critics claim it is taking too long. The Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee’s executive officer, Merrin Mason, said the national review was expected to be completed some years ago but the two final reports on deceased estates and the distribution of property when a person dies intestate would not be released until the end of the year.

“It’s just one of those situations where it wouldn’t be sensible to start developing a state system when we know there’s all of this work being done to try and get consistency across jurisdictions,” Ms Mason told The Sunday Age.

A spokeswoman for state Attorney-General Rob Hulls said the Administration and Probate Act dated back to 1958 and needed to be updated. Victorian Legal Ombudsman Kate Hammond said the number of complaints against lawyers over wills, estates and probate was the third highest behind family and de facto issues and conveyancing.

Ms Hammond said her office had received 526 complaints against lawyers over family and de facto issues in 2004-05, 333 over conveyancing and 249 over wills, estates and probate. When the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into wills and deceased estates finally begins sometime next year, it will examine:

■The desirability of new legislation and procedures to deal with the administration of a deceased estate.

■Whether the Administration and Probate Act should be amended to provide alternative mechanisms for the resolution of disputes that involve small estates.

■Whether the Magistrates Court and County Court should also be given jurisdiction to deal with grants of probate and administration, and deal with disputes relating to wills.

■And whether amendments are necessary in relation to the charges and commissions of lawyers who also act as executors.

One critic who believes the system is in urgent need of an overhaul is Collingwood businessman Diarmuid Hannigan, who has been involved in a dispute with lawyer Ian Bult, from law firm Russell Kennedy, over his mother’s estate. He claims Mr Bult, the co-executor of Elizabeth Hannigan’s estate, is unfairly withholding his inheritance. Mr Bult has denied the claim.

Complaints by Mr Hannigan to the Legal Ombudsman, Attorney-General and the Victorian Law Institute’s professional standards body have proved futile.

Institute lawyer Penny Antonov said Mr Hannigan had no legal rights to file a financial loss claim against Mr Bult because he was not Mr Hannigan’s lawyer, so there was no solicitor-client relationship.

CHARGING UP, IN MINUTE DETAIL Ian Bult, a senior partner with the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, charges $425 an hour for his services, plus GST. His senior associate, Arthur Bolkas, charges $330 an hour. They billed the estate of Elizabeth Hannigan, who died last year, more than $32,000 in legal fees following a dispute with her eldest son, Diarmuid, over the will. The list of charges includes:

■$99 for 18 minutes perusing and checking holding statements (Bolkas).

■$99 for 18 minutes working on file note (Arthur Bolkas).

■$42.50 for six-minute phone call.

■$66 for 12 minutes reviewing file (Arthur Bolkas)

■$255 for 36 minutes drafting two letters (Ian Bult).

■$264 for 48 minutes preparing statements to beneficiaries (Arthur Bolkas).

■$340 for 48 minutes briefing counsel (Ian Bult).

■$127.50 for 18 minutes working on letter (Ian Bult).

■$382.50 for 54 minutes perusing medical records (Ian Bult).

■$429 for one hour and 18 minutes on letter to beneficiaries (Arthur Bolkas).

The list of charges to the estate goes on. And on …

Lawyers free to say ‘no’ at will

By Mark Russell
September 25, 2005

COLLINGWOOD cake shop owner Diarmuid Hannigan’s mother, Elizabeth, was 74 when she died on June 21 last year.

She left an estate valued at more than $750,000 to be divided equally between her four grieving children. But while the three youngest siblings each received an initial $100,000 payout, Diarmuid was stunned when told by the co-executor of the estate, lawyer Ian Bult, that he would only be getting $50,000.

Mr Bult, a senior partner with law firm Russell Kennedy, said he had a letter from Mrs Hannigan directing him to place the remaining $50,000 of Diarmuid’s inheritance into a testamentary trust. The money can be paid out of the trust at the discretion of the executor.

Mr Bult has refused to give Mr Hannigan a copy of the letter, citing client confidentiality. Mr Hannigan, a father of four, believes his mother wanted to protect his money from creditors after one of his businesses had failed in 1996, not knowing he had cleared his debts.

He has since spent at least $10,000 hiring a lawyer to try to access the trust funds. The dispute has also cost the estate more than $32,000 in legal fees billed by Mr Bult. Mr Hannigan claims another $260,000 from the estate remains in dispute, as well as funds from the pending sale of Mrs Hannigan’s retirement unit at Northcote.

“There appears to be very little in the way of consumer protection for any family who may be beneficiaries of estates,” Mr Hannigan said.

Mr Bult refused to comment, but in a letter to Mr Hannigan he rejected the claim that his firm was prolonging the administration of the estate for its own personal benefit.

How the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy cope with the truth.

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                        236 Smith Street Collingwood.Victoria3066                                              03 94195044 charada@mira,net                                                         Sunday 8th of May 2011

To Mr Paul Gleeson                                                                                        Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Could you forward the following documents to me at the above address, if this is inconvenient I can make arrangements to pick them up from your office.

Letter written by Elizabeth Hannigan dated 30 10 1998.
Any other evidence that your firm has verifying attached document.
The complete ledger for the estate.
The tax returns for the estate
An itemised bill for your firm’s fees that have been charged against the estate.
The trust accounts for the past five years.

The furnishing of these documents may begin a healing process within my mother`s family and help to determine what her final wishes really are.

I trust it will not be too difficult to find these documents and send a copy of them to myself so as all outstanding matters between my mother`s family and your firm can be finalised.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan.

 

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net                                                        Sunday 20th of June 2011

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Re letter sent 8th of May 2011. Six weeks have passed without a response, not even an acknowledgment of receipt of the correspondence.

Hence I have forwarded the correspondence again by fax and will verify you have received it.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan

 

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net

Sunday 27th of June 2011

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Re letter sent 8th of May 2011 and fax sent 20th of June 2011. Seven weeks have passed without a response, not even an acknowledgment of receipt of the correspondence.

Hence I have forwarded the correspondence again by fax and will verify you have received it.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net

Monday 4th of July 2011

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Re letter sent 8th of May 2011 and fax sent 20th of June 2011 and 27th of June. Eight weeks have passed without a response, not even an acknowledgment of receipt of the correspondence.

Hence I have forwarded the correspondence again by fax and will verify you have received it.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan

 

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net

Monday 8th of August 2011

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Re letter sent 8th of May 2011 and fax sent 20th of June 2011 and 27th of June. Three months have passed and still no copy of the tax returns of Elizabeth Hannigan`s Estate as you stated in your letter of 15 07 2011 paragraph 4 that you would supply.

Please stop obstructing the process with unnecessary delays as you have these documents in your file and it will take you less than ten minutes to retrieve them and forward them to me as you have stated you would do. I could even come and pick them up from your office as I am in that part of the city on a regular basis.

Hence I have forwarded this correspondence by fax and will verify you have received it.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan

 

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net

Sunday 15 October 2011

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Re deed of appointment of trust property 30 09 2011 clause G.

“At the request of my daughters (which the Trustee was assured and understands was made with the support of Diarmuid) the trustee has determined to distribute the shares to my daughters in equal shares, or shares as nearly equal as possible, with adjustment to be made between the transferees.”

I would like to point out the following. At the meeting between yourself, Daniel Kelliher and my daughters you raised the issue of my concerns. You were told by them that Ian Bult had told them that I had received a half share of the trust and that I would not receive any more.

I have received the resolution of the trustee 27 06 2008 initially set up by Ian Bult which states the beneficiaries of the trust are to be Diarmuid Hannigan 50% (Already distributed) and my daughters.

I note that my mother wished that my sister work in conjunction with a lawyer from your firm to act as trustees of my share. My sister wanted to use her discretion as trustee to give me my full share of the inheritance as my mother would have wished thus having all of her children treated equally. Mr Ian Bult set up a disagreement with my sister and forced her not to join in the probate of the will, stating there were other reasons as to why my mother did not want me to have my full share. He claimed these reasons were written in a letter to him by my mother. Understandably this response by Ian Bult and supported by the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy created a great deal of confusion and distress with my mother’s family. When my sister asked Mr Bult to provide her with a copy of this letter, he refused, claiming legal client privilege. He strongly advised my sister not to join in the probate of the will as a result of their difference of opinion, thus empowering himself and the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy over my mother’s family. Upon receiving this letter my family has discovered that there were no other reasons (as they always believed) and that Ian Bult supported by the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedylied to all of us.

I asked you for any other information that related to the wishes of my mother pertaining to the distribution of the trust and you also quoted the resolution of the trust deed by Ian Bult 27 06 2008. You then stated you were not sure what other evidence I was seeking.

Considering the gravity of the situation I would have assumed it was obvious what other evidence I was seeking, evidence from my mother of course, stating very clearly how she wanted my share to be distributed. Either written evidence of records contained in your records of specific directions given by my mother on how she wanted my share of the estate to be distributed. Evidence that goes beyond the ambiguous decisions of your firms appointed representative Ian Bult. If you have any such evidence I would be grateful for you to provide me with it.

I have presumed from your erroneous response that there is no other evidence.

Since this was the case as determined by your firm, any objections that I have regarding the trust would only have led to further disharmony within my own family, something I will not allow to occur. Your organisation created the trust based upon a dishonest representation of my mother`s wishes which in turn has created a false expectation of the trust in my children`s minds.

I gather the lawyer representing yourself and the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy again pursued the issue of my opinion on the matter by asking. “Is Diarmuid going to be upset or has he comes to terms with that reality”. The question was answered as follows. “He supports our activity”. This statement by my daughter does not say that I accept the situation of the validity of the trust, or any of Russell Kennedy`s actions in implementing the trust, the statement only says “Diarmuid supports our activity.”

It was the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy who were determined to set up the trust based upon a false representation of my mother`s wishes. I was left in a completely powerless situation and the control of the trust was completely in the hands of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy. Since it was your organisation that placed me in a powerless position, I find your audacity in asking my children the question as to how I might feel as a further abuse of my rights. You had no right to ask this question of my four children as though you were to give my opinion some consideration or to seek my assurance through discussion with a third party so as to legitimise your firm’s illegal actions.

This statement alone particularly when placed in context with the rest of the discussion cannot be taken as an assurance that I accept the fact that Ian Bult and the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy who acted as executors of my mother’s will, lied to her children about her wishes and through their actions irreparably split her family and caused immense financial damage to the value of my mother’s estate along with immense psychological damage to my mother’s family. This has in turn caused an unspecified amount of financial damage to all members of her family. The damage will negatively impact upon her offspring for eternity.

For Mr Kelliher to ask such a question of a group of young women and for your firm to attempt to state that the answers given by them was an assurance that I was in some way contented with the way Russell Kennedy had managed my mother’s estate and my share of that inheritance is laughable, but illustrates how insensitive and how unfair the actions of your firm have become.

If you and the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy were seeking an assurance from me then you would only have had to pick up the telephone and asked me. You may or may not have received an assurance, but if you had rung me and explained the context in which the assurance was to be used, and if it were by some strange reason given, only then could you use the term in the form as in clause G.

May I point out to you that clause G is not a truthful statement and I suggest that you have included it so as to obtain legitimacy of the trust.

If you believed that what you were told was an assurance that I had no objections to the formation of the trust and to how Ian Bult and your firm managed my mother’s estate, you are sorely mistaken.

I would appreciate it if you could remove clause G (which the Trustee was assured and understands was made with the support of Diarmuid) from the document.

As far as the legitimacy of the trust is concerned: The letter dated 30 10 98 that your firm withheld from my mother`s family for six years confirms that Ian Bult and the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy engaged in dishonest conduct by stating to my mother`s children including my sister, the family member executor, that there were other reasons that I should not have received my equal share of the estate as did my brother and sisters: other reasons apart from the threat of bankruptcy. (A situation that I have never encountered or been at risk of encountering).

There are no other reasons contained in her letter to you apart from reasons occurring after my death, I am not dead.

This means that your firm has set up a trust based upon a dishonest representation of my mother’s wishes now exposed in her letter written to Ian Bult 30 10 98.

This type of dishonest conduct is of the worst kind because it was conducted by one of your senior partners and overseen by the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy who was placed in a fiduciary position by my mother because she trusted lawyers and your law firm.

I note that in the meeting with my daughters relating to the remaining assets that were left in the trust. (I note they are currently worth less than $41,000 from a cash investment of $91,000 that if invested in a bank earning interest should have had a value of at least $120,000 a loss of $83,000 when your $4000 of legal fees is included.)

Option one was to transfer the trust into their names with all past liabilities, those of yourself and those of Ian Bult, I assume that would also mean those of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, thus retaining the capital gains tax losses of the trust.

Option two was a cash or share transfer to my four daughters equally as has occurred.

I am wondering why you did not offer the third option which was to transfer the trust into their names and accept the liabilities of the trust prior to the transfer apart from of course the capital gains tax losses that occurred through the actions of you firm and Ian Bult.

4. In my request for the ledger of the estate you have stated you are not sure what I am requesting. So I will be more specific. I would like to see the full accounts of the estate. The amounts received the amounts spent and the income earned. The dates when the money was received and when it was either spent of distributed and who the money was received from and who the money was spent with. I would also like to see supporting documentation to ensure that all amounts of money are true and correct.

5. I would like an itemised bill of all fees and charges that your firm has drawn from the estate. I draw your attention to The Victorian Legal Services Commissioners round table discussion on ascendancy law 2010 in which the Legal Services Commissioner states that beneficiaries have the right to object to legal fees charged against the estate. It is very difficult to object to the legal fees if one does not know what they are for. So I would appreciate an itemised bill.

6. I note that the unit was sold for $80,000 and there were certain expenses approximately $3000. An amount of $60,000 was distributed I would like to know what happened to the other $15,000. I have other concerns regarding the management of this unit. I gather my mother purchased the unit in 1999 for the sum of $100,000. I know an offer of $101,000 was made for this unit when my mother moved to Hedley Sutton Nursing home in 2001. Hence I have concerns regarding its sale price. I am aware that my mother received a rental sum of approximately $600 per month whilst she was incapacitated in the nursing home. I am also aware that whilst the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy managed that unit form June 2004 until its sale in 2008 the rental income totalled approximately $2500. I estimate the rental income if properly managed to be in the order of $7200 per annum or a total of $28,000 a discrepancy of $25,000. I would like an explanation.

7. I would like to know if the estate has claimed the capital gains tax loss on the unit and if the estate is eligible for a refund from the taxation department since it paid a large sum in capital gains tax on the sale of its other assets.

8. It appears as if your firm, Russell Kennedy  has incorrectly charged the trust for my incoming telephone calls to Daniel Kelliher as the content of these conversations related primarily to the estate of my late mother and not to the trust. I would appreciate it if you could rectify this error.

9. Since your firm, Russell Kennedy has now distributed all of the assets in the estate apart from the legal file and the estate has paid all legal fees to your firm Russell Kennedy. I would appreciate it if you could arrange its return to its rightful owners that is to my mother’s family. If you are considering defending this request I suggest you investigate the legitimacy of your nominated executor Mr Ian Bult who lied about the content of the letter dated 30 10 98 to my sister which led to her renouncing her position as executor of my mother’s will. A situation that in fact broke her will as supported by her letter of 30 10 98 in which my mother stated she wanted her daughter, a family member to act in conjunction with the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy because none of her children were experts in wills law or taxation law and that it could be a veritable mine field. Since the executor Ian Bult has proven to have acted dishonestly then I would assume that the ownership of the file would then revert to the family whose inheritance has paid dearly for it. It follows that if a thief is caught that what was purchased from what he stole is owned by those he stole from.

I trust it will not be too difficult to alter clause G and correct your mistruth and to arrange for the transfer of the documents I have requested so as these serious matters are resolved between my mother`s family and the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan.

Response by Paul Gleeson  of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy

Response by Paul Gleeson Russell Kennedy

Response by Paul Gleeson of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy

Response by Paul Gleeson Russell Kennedy

 

Reply to Paul Gleeson of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy

 

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net

Sunday 1st of January 2012

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

In response to your letter of 25 November 2011.

You state:

“In response to your allegations of dishonesty and breach of fiduciary duty made against Ian Bult, I emphatically and comprehensively reject and deny those allegations. I believe Ian Bult was concerned at all times to implement your mother’s intentions and that he acted in accordance with the terms of the will, which embodied your mother’s intentions.”

Unfortunately for Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult, you do not support your claim with any evidence. On the other hand my mother`s family has the evidence that in fact Ian Bult and Russell Kennedy did not implement my mother`s intentions and were able to do so by lying to my dead mother`s children about the contents of the letter 28 10 1998.
This is the letter that should have been handed over to my sister when she requested it from Ian Bult. Ref Statutory Declaration written by my sister 22/01/2009 Ref (Appendix 5)

Also refer to Rights and duties of a personal representative THE DUTY TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS (Appendix 11)

  • Instead Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy went ahead and concealed this letter from my mother`s  children and my sister her family member nominated executor.

Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy then wrote a letter to my sister 31/08/2004 Ref (Appendix 5). The tone and language contained within this letter is extremely intimidating and is indicative of how Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult used bullying tactics against my mother`s nominated executor and her other children so as to gain control of the estate.

I have copied the relevant sections of this letter for you to read.

“Our attention was drawn to the fourth paragraph in the letter from Juliano Furletti and Scott which clearly states that you have indicated to Diarmuid that you are prepared to exercise your discretion under clause 4 of the will to pay the entire trust fund to him. If this is correct, we are concerned that you are expressing views that place you in conflict with the clear intention and purpose of the trust created in clause 4 of the will.

We have as you know explained at length your mothers reasoning in establishing the trust in clause 4 of her will. If necessary our client is prepared to once again explain why your mother did not want Diarmuid to receive a one quarter share of her estate absolutely.

If however you are unconvinced of the need for the trust or feel unable to carry out its terms we strongly suggest that you renounce probate of the will.

The partners of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy have resolved to apply for a grant of probate of your mother`s will with leave reserved to them to come in and prove the will at any time. Our client believes it is necessary to lodge an application for a grant of probate as soon as possible so that the executors can commence to administer the estate.

Please let us know within 10 days of the date of this letter whether you will join our client in an application for a grant of probate of your mother`s will.”

Analysis of this letter:

Let us analyse this letter sentence by sentence so as you are clear as to why it is an intimidating and hostile letter that was used by Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to bully my sister. Remember Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy are the only ones who have access to the letter that Ian Bult and Russell Kennedy are lying about.

“ If this is correct, we are concerned that you are expressing views that place you in conflict with the clear intention and purpose of the trust created in clause 4 of the will.”

This statement is hostile to my sister as it was based upon an act of deceit by Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy. My sister had no conflict with my mother’s intentions. In fact it was Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy who had created the conflict based on their own lies. To state to a grieving daughter who is also caring for her daughter and who was now in a position of caring for her mother’s family, that she is in conflict with her mother`s will, based upon a dishonest interpretation of a letter that only the accuser had access to, is a repugnant act and is a complete breach of Ian Bult`s and Russell Kennedy`s fiduciary duty.

“We have as you know explained at length your mothers reasoning in establishing the trust in clause 4 of her will. If necessary our client is prepared to once again explain why your mother did not want Diarmuid to receive a one quarter share of her estate absolutely.”

The explanations given at length by Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy were based upon a lie, a lie which Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy could conceal from my sister by the use of their power as lawyers claiming legal client privilege. Since they knew it was a lie they knew my sister could not agree with them but they have reinforced the lie as if it were the truth in the above statement so as to bully and intimidate her from her role as the family nominated executor.

“If however you are unconvinced of the need for the trust or feel unable to carry out its terms we strongly suggest that you renounce probate of the will.”

This statement is where Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, using their power and the lie they have conceived, intimidate and bully my sister, my mother`s nominated family member executor to renounce probate of the will.

“The partners of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy have resolved to apply for a grant of probate of your mother`s will with leave reserved to them to come in and prove the will at any time. Our client believes it is necessary to lodge an application for a grant of probate as soon as possible so that the executors can commence to administer the estate.”

Again the statement is intimidating. Now she feels alone as all of the partners of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy have sided with Ian Bult and their firm Russell Kennedy to perpetuate the lie and destroy her mother’s will. The statement is intimidating because it brings in other people who have legal authority; after all we are now talking with all of the partners of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy. There is also a tone of urgency placed upon my sister to make a decision when there was no urgency.

“Please let us know within 10 days of the date of this letter whether you will join our client in an application for a grant of probate of your mother`s will.”

The ten day time limit shows the intention of Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to drive my sister out of the estate, which was the final act of the bullying and intimidation in this communication, communication that was based upon a lie, and even worse, a lie that knowingly could be concealed by Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, the liars themselves.

A detailed explanation of the letter and the evidence proving that Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm       Russell Kennedy lied.

The letter did not contain any information that all family members were not aware of and in fact was not a privileged document. The letter does not contain any reasons as to why I should have been treated any differently from my mother’s other children as stated by Ian Bult which was the basis for his disagreement with my sister the family nominated executor.
It was and is a document that Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult should have freely shared with my mother’s children in order that her true wishes are met. The only reason my mother’s family did not have a copy of this letter was because it was hand written and because she trusted Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy not to lie to her children after her death she, did not have the foresight to make a photocopy of it and keep it with her other documents for her family.

Ian Bult lied to my sister and my mother`s other children when he stated there were other reasons (apart from historical financial issues that were never a problem) as to why I should not be treated equally. These reasons he stated were contained in a letter. I assume the letter you have provided me with is the letter Ian Bult was referring to and is the letter my mother wrote to Ian Bult during the construction of her will. This letter needs to be read with the two letters sent to her by Ian Bult and the draft copy of the will please refer to (Appendix 1 and 3) no doubt you can retrieve from your files to verify their authenticity.

I draw your attention to these two sentences contained within the above letter.

“I do not wish his wife to have any control of any moneys belonging to the children should that event arise.”

That event is mentioned in the proceeding correspondence from Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy

dated 23 10 1998 “Clause (5b)“ (Appendix 1) and letter dated (01 12 1998) “(1.1)” (Appendix 3) and in the draft copy of the will “(4b)“ (Appendix 4) “That event’ is a singular event relating to the prior correspondence of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult and is confirmed as the event of my death by Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult in further correspondence to my mother.

I am not dead and therefore there were no reasons and therefore Mr Ian Bult and your firm lied to the children of my dead mother about her wishes.

“Thank you very much for your letter and thank you for staying on as my executor in conjunction with (My Sister). However if at any time you want to rethink this, let me know – but I do need someone who understands the tax law and other laws relating to wills. It can be a minefield and none of my family are trained in this area so maybe you could suggest someone within your office.”

The lie to my sister by Ian Bult and his intimidation and bullying tactics bought about my sister`s nervous breakdown which allowed Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to force her from her position as family member executor which was against my mother`s wishes as Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy failed to work in conjunction with my sister. In fact they did the exact opposite by lying to her and bullying her out of her role as executor. Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy failed to appoint another family member to act in conjunction with them as would also have been my mother`s wishes.

This evidence and the written communications between Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedyand Juliano Furletti and Scott further support the fact that Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy have lied to the children of their dead mother about her wishes and have therefore acted dishonestly and have breached their fiduciary duties in carrying out my mother’s wishes.

The following is a detailed synopsis of where your firm (Russell Kennedy) and Ian Bult have communicated in a dishonest manner to my sister the family nominated executor, my sister, my brother, my solicitor and the ethics committee. The synopsis includes the bullying tactics based upon a lie regarding my mother’s wishes used by your firm (Russell Kennedy) and Ian Bult to persuade my sister not to participate in the probate of my mother`s will.

SYNOPSIS

The contents of my mother`s letter were dishonestly misrepresented by Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to my mother`s nominated executor and to her children in order that they could create a dispute over the will and force a part four application under the family provisions act. This process would have allowed Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult to become involved in legal litigation that would have cost the estate an estimated sum of $200,000 in legal fees.

The first instance of this dishonest behaviour by Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedyand Ian Bult occurred when my sister, her husband, my sister, her husband and my brother attended a meeting at Russell Kennedy to discuss the contents of the will and how my share could be dealt with. Prior to this meeting with Ian Bult, Russell Kennedy and my siblings, an agreement through our interpretation and understanding of our mother’s true wishes had been reached between ourselves. We agreed that my share would be transferred to me and we would all be treated equally as our mother desired.

The meeting was attended by Ian Bult and another lawyer from Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy; Arthur Bolkas. At the meeting the family put the proposition to Ian Bult that my share of the estate under the will had been placed into a discretionary trust to protect it from my trustees in bankruptcy if that event arose and which is stated by Ian Bult to my mother in correspondence to her dated 23 10 1998 section 5 (Appendix 1). The family stated that I had never been a bankrupt or had or would be in a position that I could be in danger of being a bankrupt and thus I should receive my share of the estate in an equal proportion to my mother’s other children. Mr Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy stated there were other reasons as to why the discretionary trust was set up in my mother’s will and they inferred during prolonged discussion that Ian Bult did not believe this was our mother`s wishes and that he had evidence in the form of prior communications which supported his view.

My sister who is a trained psychologist and my brother in law, a medical practitioner explained to Ian Bult how destructive his view was and that it was an imperative for our long term family cohesion that my mother’s children be treated equally under the will.

Mr Ian Bult explained to the family members the high costs of a legal dispute if things were not done his way.

The following actions were taken by Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to support their dishonest conduct after this meeting.

My sister requested a copy of this letter from Ian Bult in the presence of Arthur Bolkas and was advised that they could not show her the letter on the grounds of legal client privilege. Ref:(Appendix 5)

In a letter dated 31 08 2004 paragraph 4 Ref:(Appendix 7) to my sister where Ian Bult of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy strongly suggests to her to renounce probate of the will he also states.

“If necessary, our client is prepared to once again explain why your mother did not want Diarmuid to receive one quarter share of her estate absolutely.”

·In response to a letter dated 25 08 2004 Ref:(Appendix 6) from my lawyers to Russell Kennedy ref letter 31 08 2004 Ref:(Appendix 8) from Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to my lawyers ref paragraph 3

“Finally, you are incorrect to assume that the deceased`s only reason for creating the trust was to protect your client from creditors.”

Refer to letter 29 09 2004 Ref:(Appendix 9) from Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to my lawyer paragraph 2:

“The deceased chose to draw clause 4 of her will in the terms in which she did, and the suggestion by her children that it be paid directly to Diarmuid or to his family trust would if implemented, clearly be a breach of the terms of the trust set out in clause 4 of the will and would be quite contrary to the deceased intentions.”

Refer letter 28 10 2004 Ref:(Appendix 10) from Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to my lawyers paragraph 3:

“However if the Ethics Committee decides that the deceased intentions with regard to the creation of the trust in clause 4 of her will is any way relevant to their consideration of the issue of whether our firm has a conflict of interest in continuing to act for our client we will provide them with a letter from the deceased to our client which clearly establishes that the deceased intended the creation of a discretionary trust for the benefit of your client and the other beneficiaries named therein and that her reason for creating the trust was not limited to a concern to protect your client from creditors.”

Considering The Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy appointed Ian Bult as their executor representative knowing he had no formal training in working with a deceased persons family and that the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy had no standards in place to monitor his performance and that he lied to the children of their dead mother I have to question your legitimacy as the nominated trustee of a trust that was set up upon a dishonest premise.
Since I question your legitimacy to act in your role I also question your right to withhold the file from my mother’s family. I see that as an abuse of my mother’s family`s human rights by you and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy.
I question Russell Kennedy`s judgment in allowing Ian Bult a commercial lawyer with the skill set required in that field of law to be let loose on an innocent family without any training on how to deal with a bereaved family and how to work with the family to achieve long term family cohesion.
I also am informing you that apart from the financial and psychological damage that your firm has inflicted upon my mother`s family by your dishonesty and breach of fiduciary duty you have also abused her families; family rights, inheritance rights and their individual human rights.
The actions of Ian Bult and the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy have irreparably split a first generation Australian family despite every effort by my mother to protect her family from such an event.

I return to your response where you state:

“In response to your allegations of dishonesty and breach of fiduciary duty made against Ian Bult, I emphatically and comprehensively reject and deny those allegations. I believe Ian Bult was concerned at all times to implement your mother’s intentions and that he acted in accordance with the terms of the will, which embodied your mother’s intentions.”

I can take it from this statement that as far as your firm Russell Kennedy is concerned the actions by Ian Bult of lying, bullying and empowering himself over my mother`s family are totally appropriate and that since your firm fails to acknowledge his and your firms actions as being a breach of fiduciary duty, you and your firm would not have implemented any standards or systems so as to prevent this abuse of a families rights from occurring again.

In my own situation I have found that your firm has breached my mother`s families human rights and those of myself under the following sections of the Victorian Charter of Human rights. Refer sections 8, 13, 15, 17 19, 20, and 24 of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights.

I refer you to the following document

Law Firms’ Implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights. of which I have provided you with a copy

Considering the gravity of your firm`s position you may decide to take on board these guiding principles and lead the way in Victoria.

It may also help you and your firm to obtain a copy of Administration of Estates of Deceased Persons: Report of the National Committee for Uniform Succession Laws to the Standing Committee of Attorneys General.

THE DUTY TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS pg 367 – 370 which if incorporated into your standards would assist your firm in adopting a more contemporary outlook when dealing with ascendancy matters and when dealing with important information about the wishes of a deceased person in respect to the beneficiaries which in most instances is a family unit. I have attached a copy for your reference. See (Appendix 11)

In regards to you comment.

“I chose to release your mother’s letter of 30 October 1998, without releasing all the detail of the will file, in response to your letter of 8 May 2011. I had previously suggested a meeting with you in mid-2010, but you chose not to accept my offer to meet with you. Given the passage of time and events which have now transpired, I decline to release further historical material to you.”

Your decision to decline to release further historical material to me only reinforces the fact that you have no evidence and that you are hiding any other information that indicates that the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult have acted dishonestly and breached their fiduciary duty to my mother. In so doing you are also breaching your own fiduciary duty to my mother and her family.

As this dishonest behaviour by Ian Bult and your firm Russell Kennedy is at the heart of the matter and requires resolution I will not belabour you with the other issues you have addressed in your response at this stage.

In summary.

Your firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult administered my mother`s estate as a result of their dishonest behaviour in lying to my dead mothers children about her wishes. This action caused my sister to have a nervous breakdown and relinquish her role as family member executor.

This resulted in your firm taking control of my mother`s estate and charging the estate an additional $70,000 in legal fees, loosing approximately $80,000 in trust funds if passive interest is included, failure to collect rent on the unit of $25,000 and irreparably splitting my mother`s family. These were not my mother’s wishes and your firm Russell Kennedy and Ian Bult obtained their position as discretionary trustees through a dishonest action which means you and your firm have no right whatsoever to act in any way shape or form in relation to my mother’s estate. It also means you have no right to withhold the file of the estate that is currently held by your firm.

I have spoken and communicated with many people about this matter including a number of professionals and they all agree that Ian Bult and the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy were in error for not sharing the letter with my sister and my mother`s children. These opinions are supported by the recommendations contained in the Report on uniform ascendancy laws contained in (Appendix 11).

As your firm Russell Kennedy does not show any remorse for the error, there are a growing number of interested people who realise that if an error is defended so as to obfuscate it, there is normally deliberate intent in making the error, the intent being to create a dispute so as to favour the law firm with increased revenue from fees and charges against the estate.

By with-holding the letter and lying about its contents to my mother’s children Ian Bult and the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy have breached their fiduciary duty and simultaneously abused my mothers and my own family rights, human rights and inheritance rights. All things considered I would suggest that it is in the interests of everybody to resolve this situation so as to prevent a continuation of this abuse of my mother’s family and to prevent the legal profession from being bought into further disrepute.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan

Appendix 11

Rights and duties of a personal representative 367

THE DUTY TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

Background

11.193 A personal representative has certain obligations to give information about the assets of an estate to a beneficiary.1361 It has been held that a beneficiary has ‘a clear right to have a satisfactory explanation of the state of the testator’s assets, and an inspection of the accounts, but he [has] no right to require a copy of the accounts at the expense of the estate’.1362 This includes the provision of information about the investment of trust property and, where trust property has been mortgaged, production of the mortgage deeds, so that the beneficiary can ascertain that the trustee’s statement about the investment of the trust property is correct.1363 The right of inspection may be exercised by a person on behalf of a beneficiary and a personal representative needs a ‘strong reason’ to justify a decision to refuse a right of inspection to a beneficiary’s solicitor.1364

11.194 There are, however, limits to a trustee’s duty to provide information. A trustee is not bound to give one beneficiary information in relation to the dealings of the share of another beneficiary, in whose share he or she has no interest.1365 Further, where the information sought requires the personal representative to provide information that cannot be given without undertaking investigations and incurring expenses, the personal representative is not required to provide the information unless the beneficiary is willing to bear the cost of its production.1366 Where there is no statutory duty to provide the

1361

Williams v Stephens (Unreported, Supreme Court of New South Wales, Young J, 24 March 1986) 3. For a

general discussion of the scope of the duty, see D Hayton (ed), Underhill and Hayton: Law Relating to Trusts

and Trustees (17th ed, 2006) [60.28]–[60.70].

1362

Ottley v Gilby (1845) 8 Beav 602; 50 ER 237, 238 (Lord Langdale MR).

1363

Re Tillott; Lee v Wilson [1892] 1 Ch 86, 88 (Chitty J). In that case, where trust funds were invested in Bank of England ‘consols’ (or consolidated annuities), it was held that the trustee’s duty extended to giving the beneficiary an authority to apply to the bank to confirm that the investment was free from any encumbrances.

1364

Kemp v Burn (1863) 4 Giff 348; 66 ER 740, 741 (Sir J Stuart VC).

1365

Re Tillott; Lee v Wilson [1892] 1 Ch 86, 89 (Chitty J).

1366

Re Bosworth; Martin v Lamb (1889) 58 LJ Ch 432.

368 Chapter 11

information or documents, a trustee can also refuse to make the disclosure by claiming the privilege against self-incrimination.1367

11.195 In its 1991 Report, the Ontario Law Reform Commission considered the degree of access that different parties should have to information about the administration of an estate.

11.196 In relation to beneficiaries, that Commission came to the view that:1368 While the entitlement of beneficiaries to accounts and information is established under the present law, the scope of their right is uncertain. … it is unclear whether personal representatives must accord them an opportunity of inspection or give them a copy of the accounts.

11.197 The Commission recommended that a beneficiary should have ‘a right of inspection of the accounts, which would include the inventory, and books and records’.1369 It proposed that this should ‘entail inspection of not only financial books and records, but all books and records in the possession or control of the [personal representative]’, and that this right should be exercisable on reasonable notice.1370 It also recommended that this right ‘should include a right to obtain a copy of the accounts, books and records at the expense of the beneficiary’, which should also be exercisable on reasonable notice.1371

11.198 The Ontario Law Reform Commission considered that, ‘[t]o be effective in practice, statutory recognition of the beneficiary’s right of access to information must be accompanied by an expeditious enforcement procedure’.1372 It therefore recommended that the legislation should ‘provide a summary procedure for a beneficiary to apply to the court if the [personal representative] fails to afford access to the accounts, books and records’.1373 In order to encourage compliance with this obligation, the Commission further recommended that:

1374

• where a beneficiary obtains an order for disclosure and is awarded his or her costs, ‘the court should be empowered to order that the costs be paid by the [personal representative] personally’; and

1367

Bishopsgate Investment Management Ltd (in prov liq) v Maxwell [1993] Ch 1; Reid v Howard (1995) 184 CLR 1.

1368

Ontario Law Reform Commission, Administration of Estates of Deceased Persons, Report (1991) 47.

Rights and duties of a personal representative 369

• a personal representative ‘should be liable in damages to the beneficiary for any loss caused by a failure to comply with the statutory provisions respecting the maintenance of, and access to, accounts, books and records’.

11.199 The Ontario Law Reform Commission also recommended a statutory right of access to information for creditors and persons eligible to apply for family provision out of the deceased’s estate, although the extent of the access recommended was less than that recommended for beneficiaries:1375

While creditors share with beneficiaries an expectation that the estate will be properly administered to protect the value of the assets, they have an interest that is adverse to the estate and the beneficiaries. Dependants are in a position analogous to that of creditors, for they may also have a claim against the estate.

11.200 Accordingly, the Commission recommended that creditors and dependants should be ‘entitled to apply to the court for an order giving … such access to accounts, books and records as [they] can demonstrate should reasonably be made available’.1376

The National Committee’s view

Beneficiaries’ statutory entitlement to inspect documents

11.201 Although the National Committee is mindful of not imposing unnecessary burdens on personal representatives, it nevertheless considers it desirable to encourage openness in the administration of estates. In an area where suspicion and distrust are common, access to information has the potential to diffuse many conflicts and avoid unnecessary litigation. It was for this reason that the National Committee, in its Wills Report, recommended a provision giving a statutory entitlement to various people to see the deceased’s will.1377

11.202 For the same reason, the National Committee is of the view that the model legislation should give beneficiaries a statutory entitlement to inspect the documents that relate to the administration of the estate.

11.203 The National Committee has considered whether a beneficiary should have access to all documents that are required to be maintained in relation to the administration of the estate, or only to such of those documents as are relevant to the beneficiary’s interest. If access were restricted to documents relevant to the particular beneficiary’s interest, a residuary beneficiary would be entitled to access to a wider range of documents than, say, the beneficiary of a

Wills Report (1997) 109–12. See now Wills Act (NT) s 54; Succession Act 2006 (NSW) s 54; Succession Act

1981 (Qld) s 33Z; Wills Act 2008 (Tas) s 63; Wills Act 1997 (Vic) s 50.

370 Chapter 11

specific disposition. Although this approach would be consistent with the right of access under the general law,1378 it has the potential to give rise to disputes about whether particular documents are relevant to an individual beneficiary’s interests. For that reason, the National Committee is of the view that every beneficiary should be entitled to have access to the documents that the personal representative is required to maintain.

11.204 The model legislation should therefore provide that a beneficiary may, on giving reasonable notice to the personal representative, inspect the documents that the personal representative is required to retain and obtain copies of those documents.

11.205 The model legislation should also provide that the personal representative must allow the beneficiary, or the beneficiary’s agent, to inspect the documents or obtain copies of the documents.

11.206 Although a beneficiary is to have a right to obtain copies of documents, the beneficiary should be required to bear the cost of producing copies of those documents.

Enforcement

11.207 The model legislation should provide that, if a personal representative fails to comply with the obligation to give access to documents, the beneficiary may apply to the court for an order requiring the personal representative to comply with that obligation. That provision should be supported by court rules that create a summary procedure for the enforcement of the right of access.

This is consistent with the other recommendations in this Report that provisions dealing with how particular applications are to be made should be in the court rules, rather than in the legislation.1379

11.208 Any procedure should be framed in a way that ensures that the court has a discretion in relation to ordering that documents be produced for inspection or copying, so that, in an appropriate case, the court may exercise its discretion to refuse the application for access.

Orders for costs against the personal representative

11.209 In the National Committee’s view, it is not necessary to include a provision to the effect that the court may order that the costs of a successful applicant be paid by the personal representative personally.

See [14.43]–[14.46] in vol 2 of this Report, where the National Committee has recommended that the provision providing a form of summary relief for beneficiaries when a personal representative refuses to pay a legacy should be contained in court rules, rather than in the legislation.

Rights and duties of a personal representative 371

Damages

11.210 In the National Committee’s view, the model legislation should not include a provision, as recommended by the Ontario Law Reform Commission, to the effect that a personal representative should be liable in damages to a beneficiary for any loss caused by a failure to comply with the statutory provisions in relation to the maintenance and disclosure of documents. The National Committee has already recommended that the model legislation should include a provision, based on section 52(2) of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld), so that, if a personal representative fails to perform his or her duties as set out in the legislation, the court may make such order as it thinks fit, including an order for damages.1380 In view of that recommendation, it is unnecessary to include a specific provision to enable the court to award damages to a beneficiary for any loss caused by a breach of the duty to maintain documents or to allow inspection of those documents.

Correspondence from Paul Gleeson of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net

Sunday 19th of February 2012

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Thank you for your response dated 10 02 12.

You have responded to the evidence provided to you, which proves Ian Bult intimidated and bullied my sister from performing her duties as executor to my mother’s will in conjunction with a member of Russell Kennedy, whilst lying to her and my mother’s children about the contents of the letter dated 30 10 1998 which Ian Bult and your firm concealed from my mother’s family claiming legal client privilege in the following manner.

3 Regarding the conduct of Ian Bult in relation to your mother’s estate, I repeat my firm belief that at all times Mr Bult approached his role ethically, honestly and with the intention of implementing your mother’s intentions as expressed in the Will and as he understood them.

4 It is wrong of you to draw inferences from my refusal to release the old Will files.

5 Your correspondence propounds theories which you cannot substantiate and which I am satisfied are wrong. Further letters from you along these lines will not be answered, except to the extent that they seek any information you are entitled to, however I doubt there is anything we have not already provided.

None of the above statements address the issues I have bought to your attention. I have requested that you provide a copy of the file in order that I can substantiate your claim that my mother’s wishes were carried out by Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy and you have refused.

Therefore I would assume that your statement;

“regarding the conduct of Ian Bult in relation to your mother’s estate, I repeat my firm belief that at all times Mr Bult approached his role ethically, honestly and with the intention of implementing your mother’s intentions as expressed in the Will and as he understood them.”

Is based upon your own opinion and is not supported by evidence.

I would therefor conclude that the following statements are true:

Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedydid in fact conceal information from my mother’s children about her wishes by claiming legal client privilege over that information even when the information was obviously not considered privileged as proved by yourself when you released it and by all of the people who I have had read the information.

1.Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy lied to my mother’s children about the contents of the information.

2,Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, after lying about the contents of the letter and the true wishes of my mother to my sister the family member executor, then bullied and intimidated her out of her role as executor and trustee in conjunction with a member of the  Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy because she could and would not agree with their lie.

I eagerly await your response.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan

Response from Paul Gleeson of the  Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy

 

To Mr Paul Gleeson of the law firm Russell Kennedy

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net                                                              Sunday 26th of February 2012

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Thank you for your response dated 23 02 12.

Please could you send me your itemised account for the estate for the period 20 07 2004 to 20 10 2004 as you have only provided an overview of the work done that does not specify the mechanism for charging for each individual attendance by Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to the matter of my mother`s estate.

Please could you explain the role of Arthur Bolkas a Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy employee, who was in attendance at the meeting that occurred between Ian Bult, my sister, her husband, my sister, her husband and my brother held at the offices of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to discuss the contents of the will and how my share could be dealt with.

I am sure your file would contain the notes of that meeting and would assist in defining Arthur Bolkas`s role at that meeting. Provision of a copy of the file notes pertaining to the meeting, to me, would be most appreciated, particularly since I was not in attendance at that meeting, as I had left my sister, the family nominated executor to represent the interests of my share of the estate.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan.

Response by Paul Gleeson of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy

To Mr Paul Gleeson of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net

Sunday 20th of May 2012

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Thank you for your response dated 10 05 12.

I asked you three very simple questions and have received two ambiguous answers and an obstruction.

Question 1. The itemized bill.

The information you provided me is not an itemised bill and is the only record of your accounts over that period that was ever provided to our family for you firms services. I already have the details you have provided and that is why I would like an itemised bill for that period. Your issue regarding the seven year lapse of time is the making of your own firm’s actions and its nominated executor and his refusal to provide transparent information upon request at all times when dealing with my mother’s estate. The ten week response time to my last letter is a typical example of the delays and added expense created by your firm in being able to resolve this problem.

Again I request an itemized bill from Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy for the services it provided to Elizabeth Hannigan`s Estate for the period 20 07 2004 to 20 10 2004 as you have only provided an overview of the work done that does not specify the mechanism for charging for each individual attendance by Russell Kennedy to the matter of my mother`s estate.

Question 2.

Could you please specify which executor/executors Mr Arthur Bolkas was advising at the meeting of 19th of August 2004, as you refer to “The Executor” not “The Executors”.

Question 3.

Why is the file privileged? Surely we have already seen how errors can occur through the abuse of this privilege that you use to hide the truth and the damage both financial and psychological that this abuse has inflicted upon a vulnerable Australian family.

Furthermore under a commercial contract the person who has paid for the goods and or services provided has ownership of those goods and services. Hence the estate of Elizabeth Hannigan has paid for the services provided by Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy. Part of those services is the creation of the file. Therefore the file is owned by the beneficiaries of her estate her four children. Since they have been hurt by the errors perpetuated by Arthur Bolkas and Ian Bult they have a right to find out exactly what went wrong and they have a right to inspect the file because they own it and it is in the long term interest of internal family relations to have knowledge that is contained within that file. You and your firm have no right to withhold that file and deny the beneficiaries the right to inspect that file. Please also refer to the two attachments which outline the contemporary attitude of our law makers to duties of disclosure. (Please refer to THE DUTY TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS 11.193- 11.226) see attachment.

Considering the above points again I request that you comply with your commercial and legal obligations to my mother’s family and provide access to the file. Please note that if the original requests for information had been provided by Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy way back in August and September of 2004 and you had acted as human beings none of this communication would be necessary.

Please could you explain the role of Arthur Bolkas a Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, employee, who was in attendance at the meeting that occurred between Ian Bult, my sister, her husband, my sister, her husband and my brother held at the offices of Russell Kennedy to discuss the contents of the will and how my share could be dealt with.

I am sure your file would contain the notes of that meeting and would assist in defining Arthur Bolkas`s role at that meeting. Provision of a copy of the file notes pertaining to the meeting, to me, would be most appreciated, particularly since I was not in attendance at that meeting, as I had left my sister, the family nominated executor to represent the interests of my share of the estate.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan.

Paul Gleeson of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy practicing sophistry (Telling a fib)

To Mr Paul Gleeson of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net

Sunday 19th August 2012

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Thank you for your response dated 19 06 12.

May I take the time to point out to you that the way us human adults resolve our problems most efficiently and effectively is via the open and transparent exchange of information? Since the issue at hand is life changing for myself, my family and for the families of my mother`s other children, the open and transparent flow of information between the service provider (Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd) of my mother’s estate and her family is essential, in order to resolve the interfamily conflicts, bought about by the work done by the service provider`s nominated representative Ian Bult. Since you are the representative of the service provider at this point in time and the service provider is the law firm Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd. I would suggest to you, that instead of prolonging this issue, by hiding the requested information through the use of legal hocus-pocus, you behave like an adult and in the same way as any other professional, furnish the information my brother and I have requested. This will allow my family to answer the unresolved matters concerning our mother’s estate and allow us to get on with the rest of our lives.

Since the members of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy were nominated to provide the services of executor`s in conjunction with my mother`s daughter and you have charged her estate, and been paid by the estate for the work you purport to have done, I would expect under a normal commercial agreement that you would be obligated to provide records of the work you did, which includes “the file”, to those who eventually paid for that work, that is the beneficiaries of my mother’s estate: her children.

Since I am her eldest son and was the one who suffered most, as a result of Mr Ian Bult`s refusal to release the letter dated 30 10 98 to the family nominated executor and the fact that he misrepresented its contents to her and also ignored the advice of all of my mother’s children in the interpretation of my mother`s will. I assert my right as a human being to obtain the file on behalf of my family, my mother`s family and that of my dead mother so as her wishes: contained within her will are finally granted and her soul can finally be allowed to rest in peace.

It is obvious that Ian Bult through his actions whilst acting as an employee of Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd failed to grant my mother her final wishes, whilst performing a fiduciary role.

Question 1. The itemized bill.

There appears to be an error in the summary of the bill. The summary states your firm charged for the perusal of a letter sent by John Pavlidies on my behalf dated 25 07 2004. I did not engage the services of a lawyer until after the meeting on 19 08 2004, there must be an error at your end please can you correct this. The first letter your firm received from John Pavlidies was dated 25 08 2004. Can you then send me a copy of your correction so as I can confirm that you have performed your duty correctly as I do not trust you.

You have stated that you will not provide me with a copy of the itemised bill for the period 20 07 2004 to 20 10 2004.

You state that the bill was rendered to the executor. Therefore the itemised bill must exist and must be contained within the file. This itemised bill was never rendered to my sister, who for a large proportion of the time in question was the only named and defined executor of the estate under my mother`s will, the other potential executors being one or the other members of Russell Kennedy at the time of her death.

She was an executor and performing that role at the time of the meeting 19 08 2004 and for some time after. In fact as far as I am concerned she was the only named executor in the will at the time of the meeting of 19 08 2004. The other potential executors being the members of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy of which one happened to be Ian Bult. Please could you furnish the internal document from Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd showing when and how Mr Ian Bult was chosen by the members of Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd to represent them as the executor who was to work on my mother`s estate, since you refuse both me and my brother access to the file.

In summary part one. I am now looking for you to accomplish three very simple tasks.

Task one. To change the dates of the letter sent by John Pavlidies to the correct date in your accounting summary from 20 07 2004 to 20 10 2004 and furnish me with written documentation to prove you have corrected the mistake.

Task two. Provide me with the internal document from your firm (Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd) the service provider, showing how Mr Ian Bult was nominated to be the representative executor of my mother`s estate on behalf of Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd.

Task three. Provide me with an itemised account for the period 20 07 2004 to 20 10 2004.

Question 2.

The letter from my mother to Mr Ian Bult dated 30 10 1998 which forms part of the construction of the will and was used by Ian Bult as part of the will, albeit as a dishonest interpretation of this letter by him, clearly states that my mother wished for: “Ian Bult or a member of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to work in conjunction with my daughter as none of my family are familiar with taxation or wills law and I gather it can be a nightmare”.

My mother died in late June of 2004. She was buried in early July 2004. In early August I met with my brother and sisters and we read her will. A meeting then occurred on the 19th of August 2004 with my two sisters, their respective husbands, my brother, Ian Bult and Arthur Bolkas to discuss how my share of the estate was to be managed.

Please note this was as per my mother’s instructions to Mr Ian Bult contained in the letter 30 10 1998. That is to say that my mother states the executors my sister and the members of Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd were to work in conjunction with one another to administer her will. I understand this to mean, by my mother`s letter dated 30 10 98 that she meant that my sister was to work with my mother’s children as a family and that the members of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy were to assist her and my mother’s family with the lawyering.

Please can you provide a copy of the document from your file that specifies the date when you state the following occurred: “It had already been adverted to that my sister required independent advice, and that Arthur Bolkas was not seeking to represent her at that meeting.”

Could you also provide a copy of the clear and concise reasons from your file as to why it was that my sister required independent legal advice at that meeting?

Could you also provide a copy of the clear and concise reasons from your file as to why it was that the members of your firm who were the other executors nominated by my mother had decided not to follow my mother`s instructions in her letter of 30 10 1998 and work in conjunction with my sister.

Perhaps you would care to explain to me why your law firm worked in exactly the opposite way to the instructions contained in my mother’s letter to Ian Bult by lying to my sister, hiding key documents that should have been attached to the will from her and bullying and intimidating her from her position as executor. I do not call that working in conjunction with another person and I doubt that you would find any other reputable human being who would support the idea that your firm and Ian Bult did work in conjunction with my sister my mother’s daughter and the family nominated executor in proving her will.

In summary part two. I am now looking for you to accomplish four very simple tasks.

Task one. To provide the document from your file that shows the date a member of your firm told my sister or any person representing her that she required independent legal advice at the meeting of 19th August 2004.

Task two. Provide me with a copy of the document that states the reasons why a member from Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy had adverted to my sister that she required independent legal representation at the meeting of 19th August 2004 and that Arthur Bolkas would only be representing Ian Bult or the members of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy at that meeting.

Task three. Provide me with a copy of the document that states the reasons why it was that the members of your firm who were the other executors nominated by my mother had decided not to follow my mother`s instructions in her letter of 30 10 1998 and work in conjunction with her daughter the family nominated executor.

Task four. Provide the document from my mother that empowered the members of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy to hide key parts of the construction of her will from her family including the letter dated 30 10 1998.

Question 3.

In your letter of 10 02 2012 You state: “I repeat my firm belief that at all times Mr Bult approached his role ethically, honestly, and with the intention of implementing your mother`s intentions as expressed in the will as he understood them”.

Mr Ian Bult stated to the ethics committee and to my sister on separate occasions that he was in possession of a letter from my mother that stated that I should be treated differently from my other siblings in relation to my inheritance. I gather that letter is the letter you provided to me dated 30 10 98.

That letter does not contain any reasons from my mother as to why I should have been treated differently.

You, Mr Gleeson, Mr Ian Bult and your law firm Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd have been asked for any other information that you have that states that my mother wanted my distribution of the inheritance to be treated differently to my siblings and you have not furnished any.

You, Mr Gleeson, Mr Ian Bult and your law firm Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd have been furnished with statements from all of my other siblings stating that as her children they believed that my mother wanted us all to be treated equally in relation to the inheritance and that there was no evidence that they were aware of that suggested anything different and you ignored that input from my mother`s own children, children who were in regular contact with their mother up until the time of her death who`s opinions were ignored in preference to Ian Bult, who’s relationship with my mother was that of a paid professional, who had only met her on a few occasions.

Apart from you Mr Gleeson or your law firm Russell Kennedy proving that Ian Bult or lawyers in general who become executors, have a direct phone line to the dead and that you have recordings of those conversations with my late mother after her death, it is impossible for me, as it would be for any other rational human being to believe that you are telling the truth and “that Ian Bult carried out his role ethically, honestly, and with the intention of implementing my mother`s intentions as expressed in the will as he understood them”.

Mr Gleeson I must remind you that to insult the integrity of a person’s mother is as to go skating around on thin ice, which is what you appear to be trying to do. What you are saying is that my mother who had a close and very clear understanding of all of her children and how they operated would knowingly write a will that would destroy the interpersonal relationships within her family in a new country forever.

By stating such a thing you are denigrating the life’s work of your client and making her out to be a fool and a person who lacked integrity. My mother was no fool, she was a person who loved her children equally, who realised the difficulties they had experienced by moving around the world and wrote her will to protect them and assure them of a good and healthy future in this new country Australia, in the same way as would any good mother. The last thing she ever wished for was a legal firm to destroy her family and waste and plunder the inheritance that she had worked so hard to impart to her children, which is exactly what Ian Bult and Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy have achieved.

Mr Gleeson please desist from making claims that do not have any basis and ones that you or any other member of your law firm Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd, including Ian Bult cannot support with evidence. By making these claims you are in fact insulting my mother and defaming the most important role a woman can have, that is the long term interest and well-being of her children who she has born into this world and is enshrined in the universal role of motherhood. What is even worse is that you are doing so because of a gross professional error that was created by members of your firm Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd who you appear to be trying to protect.

To put it very clearly Mr Gleeson, I would appreciate a retraction of the statement: “that Ian Bult carried out his role ethically, honestly, and with the intention of implementing my mother`s intentions as expressed in the will as he understood them.”

Unless you can provide me with any documentation that will verify your claim.

As we are both professionals I expect you and your firm to act in a professional manner. In my realm of professionalism, when attempting to resolve a problem: lying or creating fiction is not part of the process. In fact all it does is create distrust and disrespect which unfortunately you as trustee and your firm appear to revel in.

In summary part three. I am now looking for you to accomplish two very simple tasks.

Retract your statement: “that at all times Mr Bult approached his role ethically, honestly, and with the intention of implementing your mother`s intentions as expressed in the will as he understood them”
Begin an internal investigation as to how and why things went so terribly wrong so that your firm Russell Kennedy Pty Ltd can:

Offer restitution to my mother’s family and her estate.
Improve its internal systems so as your firm never ever damages another Australian family in the way it has damaged my mother`s family.

Mr Gleeson please can you get out of the state of denial that you are in and start working as a professional so as the real issues at hand are dealt with.

That is Mr Ian Bult’s dishonesty and his mismanagement of my late mother`s estate who`s actions are both disgraceful and dishonourable to your profession.

Question 4.

You have not given any reasons as to why the file is privileged? Please do so as I am interested in your reasons.

You have stated that the file remains the property of the personal representative and the trustee. May I remind you that, those positions were obtained through the act by Ian Bult of dishonestly portraying the contents of the letter 30 10 98 to my sister and then through the use of legal client privilege which denied her and my mother’s family access to that letter for six years. The dishonest portrayal of the contents of that letter by Ian Bult led to a disagreement between my sister and Ian Bult that eventuated in her being bullied out of her position as executor.

From all of the evidence at hand Mr Gleeson, your position as trustee and the position claimed by Ian Bult resulted from an act of dishonesty initiated by Ian Bult, which breached the members of your firm`s fiduciary duties to my mother and was disgraceful and dishonourable to your profession. You therefore have no right to control, who sees and who does not see or even possess the file.

As a sensible adult I again request that you grant me access to the file.

I realise as a lawyer trained in an adversarial system that it is difficult for you to envisage a collaborative approach to problem solving. I can assure you it is a far better method to use in solving problems and has bought about the immense technological improvements our society enjoys today. The collaborative approach to problem solving by the scientific community has bought our world out of the era of Dickens and into the 21st century. It is a pity that the legal profession has not had the intelligence to incorporate this superior ideology into its day to day method of practice.

Your conclusion manifesting from a tenuous position of power, appears to show symptoms of palilalia. To talk packthread whilst simultaneously vilipending accompanied by your asteism is a crude form of charientism. None of which is helping to get us to a conclusion, a conclusion to which my mother hired the services of your firm to achieve. Your refusal to facilitate the open and transparent flow of information is only a repeat of a deceitful performance that if a moral judgment, as against legal jargon were brought to bear, would be construed as criminal. Your predecessor has delayed the ability of my mother’s family to achieve any form of resolution, by his and your firm`s damaging and dishonest portrayal of my mother’s final wishes.

After 35 years of working as a professional with a multitude of situations, from dealing with some of the world’s largest trading houses, through to satisfying the needs of an individual customer I must say that the professional experience that I have encountered when dealing with your law firm Russell Kennedy takes professional standards to a new low for me that defies comprehension. You claim to be one of Victoria’s best law firms and the roles your partners have participated in within the legal fraternity would support your claim. Past presidents of the Law Institute of Victoria, members of various government committees and advisory boards all form part of the firm’s curriculum vitae. The credentials are impeccable, but when it came to administering my dead mother`s will your firm appears to have lost the plot. As a professional I learned from the outset there are three keys to problem solving.

Search for information
Define the problem
Solve the problem

Your firm cannot even get past the first base because you will not exchange information.

You have other issues to deal with that include using personnel such as Ian Bult who was a hardened commercial lawyer that was put in charge of caring for the needs of a group of grieving beneficiaries who had just lost their mother. Hardly an ideal skill set for the task at hand.
Had no up-to-date training in alternative dispute resolution
was not operating with any quality control standards as your firm had not implemented any quality standards so as those employees of your firm are not able to be guided by standards.

If I may say so, my encounter with your firm and its supposed legal practices leaves me very concerned about the state of your profession within Victoria and its overall ability to provide the essential legal services the Victorian community requires.

May I take this opportunity to tell you not to continue to vilify me by using belittling statements such as: “you are not happy” or trying to label me as a vexatious person. Believe me I am neither. I happen to be a person who has seen one of Victoria’s most prestigious law firm`s lie about my mother’s wishes to her children and in so doing create an extra $65,000 in legal fees for themselves whilst at the same time lose about $85,000 by gambling on the stock market whilst simultaneously destroying a family. (The loss of opportunity and the physiological damage have an indeterminate dollar figure). All of this damage is as a result of incompetent professionalism initiated from within your law firm Russell Kennedy and needs to be resolved by your law firm Russell Kennedy in a responsible manner without any further delay.

I await your reply and co-operation in the future on this matter.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan

Paul Gleeson of Melbourne law firm Russell                        Kennedy practicing sophistry                             (Telling another  fib)

To Mr Paul Gleeson of the Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy

Diarmuid Hannigan                                                                                            236 Smith Street                                                                              Collingwood.Victoria3066                                                                                03 94195044 charada@mira,net

Sunday 18th November 2012

To Mr Paul Gleeson

Russell Kennedy Solicitors

Dear Mr Gleeson.

Re your response of 30 10 12

The facts prove that Ian Bult did lie to my sister and the other members of my mother’s family in regards to my mother’s wishes.

Ian Bult by lying and refusing to listen to my mother’s children in regards to their opinions regarding their own mothers wishes acted in a dishonest and unethical manner and did not implement my mother’s final wishes.
Neither you nor Ian Bult or for that matter any member of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy have provided any facts to suggest as to why I was treated in a different way to any of my mother’s other children despite repeated requests by all of my mother`s children for that information.
You have not given any reasons as to why the information I have requested should be treated as confidential. It is obvious that you and your firm are concealing the truth, that is the true wishes of my mother by claiming the documents that are requested are privileged.
Since the files were paid for by the estate and your firm came into possession of those files through the dishonesty of Ian Bult you have no right to continue to conceal the information contained within them from my mother’s family.
Please support your claim with evidence as from my own correspondence with my brother and sisters there appear to be a serious difference in opinion.
Anything I have written in any correspondence has always been the truth and is written in the public interest. You may be aware of the review of Victoria`s Inheritance Laws which hopefully will create laws that prevent such abuses of inheritance as those that have been meted out by Ian Bult and your firm Russell Kennedy, towards my mother`s family.

Given the extreme psychological trauma my mother`s family have already been put through because of the fraudulent and dishonest conduct of Ian Bult and your firm Russell Kennedy, it seems to me to be most abhorrent to aggravate that further by bringing claims without any real merit against me. The actions of Ian Bult and your firm Russell Kennedy by treating my mother`s family as a commodity are both immoral and simultaneously repugnant.

Your continued abuse of me and my mother’s wishes through the concealment of vital information is vexatious. Your attempt to portray me as a person who is angry, vexatious and one that engages in defamatory conduct and a harasser is just another case of the abuser abusing its victim.

The statement made by you that ‘Your mother no doubt had her reasons to treat you in a different fashion to the way in which she treated your siblings in her Will.”

Is made so as to cover for Mr Ian Bult`s and your firm, Russell Kennedy`s professional misconduct and is clearly a case of the abuser continuing to abuse the victim, particularly when we are all aware that at the time of writing her will I was running a business that had run into some financial problems and the details are covered in the correspondence that occurred between my mother and Ian Bult during the formation of the will.

The will itself did not create a situation that allowed your firm to carry out the brutal and abusive actions that you performed against my mother’s family and the will did not permit Ian Bult or your firm Russell Kennedy to lie to my sister the family nominated executor and bully and intimidate her from her position as executor, a clear case of inheritance hijacking by a self-serving and unaccountable lawyer.

When Ian Bult refused to work in conjunction with my sister and bullied and intimidated from her role as executor you firm broke my mother`s will. You forced the only named executor from her will by providing her with misleading, dishonest information which you then concealed from all members of my mother’s family, a truly repugnant act.

The letter that Ian Bult refused to show my sister that he claimed specified the reasons why I should be treated differently did not contain any reasons and as yet you, Ian Bult or any other members of your firm have not been able to explain how this mess occurred.

As yet you have not provided me with any of the documents that I have requested and I again repeat my request that you provide me access to the file you currently have in your possession relating to my mother’s estate.

Your response clearly shows any lack of empathy for the terrible destruction the actions of your firm has wreaked upon my mother’s family and shows the need for our government to implement laws that prevent persons who are bereft of understanding the sensitive nature of family dynamics at the point of a mother’s death, from being engaged as professionals who purport to be providing a quality service when dealing in matters relating to the management of inheritance distribution within Australian families.

I would suggest that you again read my letter of 19 08 2012 and provide me with the documents I have requested as this will assist in helping to resolve the issues relating to the way your firm has managed my mother`s estate. The requests for those documents are fair and reasonable and considering the damage that your firm and Ian Bult have created you have a moral and professional obligation to provide them.

Yours Sincerely

Diarmuid Hannigan

Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy mentioned in the Senate for all of the wrong reasons.

John Madigan (Victoria, Democratic Labor Party) Share this | Link to this | Hansard source

Access to Justice

All Senate debates on 25 Mar 2014« Previous

I rise tonight to speak about what a barrister has described to me as the all but complete denial of access to the courts for ordinary people due to the severe and extreme cost of litigation. This barrister, an experienced and objective advocate in criminal and commercial matters, despairs at the legal injustices that go unaddressed. He despairs at the ongoing harm caused by a legal culture that has priced access to the courts completely out of the reach of ordinary Australians. The gravy train legal culture that prevails is most dangerous when it impacts the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. Our legal practitioners, this barrister said, have increasingly lost their identity as officers of the court, with all of the obligations that entails. They are, he said, preoccupied with commercial advancement.

Representing people before a court is so time consuming and demanding that ordinary people can no longer afford it. Those who need the protection of the law the most—the poor and alienated—have no hope of getting the considered and experienced representation they desperately need. Ironically, and all too frequently, litigation causes financial ruination to the parties and creates problems which dwarf the original dispute. The long-term harm and distress persist long after the legal issue is resolved or abandoned for want of resources.

Last week saw a case in point. On Wednesday I excused myself from this place to attend the Federal Court in Melbourne in support of a constituent. Appearing before the court was a farmer from western Victoria, someone I have known for many years. His farm was bankrupted by his own law firm. This firm had represented this individual in a family farm partnership dispute that began in 2005. Anyone who has worked on the land would not be unfamiliar with the concept of a family farm partnership dispute. Farm partnerships and farm succession planning are an inevitable part of almost any rural operation. But in this case the farmer in question—I will call him Murray—has had his life destroyed by the legal firm he appointed to protect his interests.

According to his affidavit, Murray obtained a projected legal cost in 2005 from law firm Russell Kennedy of approximately $30,000. He was further advised in 2007—when the costs were already $83,990, according to the affidavit—that the proceedings might cost a further $100,000, including disbursements. At the time, according to documents presented in the court, part of Murray’s costs would be recovered—Russell Kennedy told him. But, by the conclusion of the matter, Murray’s fees from Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy were in excess of $380,000. I repeat: an initial estimation of costs to Murray by Russell Kennedy of $30,000 had grown to $380,000.

But that is not all. A key part of Murray’s action in this partnership dispute was a diary. In this diary was a record of an agreement between Murray and his father. And this diary was lost by Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy some time in 2008, according to documentation attached to Murray’s affidavit. In an earlier court action, it was ruled the discovery of the original diary should be made. This is stated in a letter dated 1 September 2008, and written by Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy, principal Michael Main. In that same letter, Mr Main said: ‘We will continue our search for the diary, and would be grateful if you could also check to ensure that it is still not in your possession or has been returned to you by mistake.’ That is right: Murray’s own law firm, it appears, lost a crucial piece of evidence.

On the website of Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy it says the firm is committed to making a difference to their clients. Certainly, Murray’s involvement with Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy has made a difference in his life. Because of their incompetence, because of their extraordinary poker-machine-style fee-accrual system and because of their sheer legal bloody-mindedness, Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy decided to bankrupt a sole individual farmer.

Murray’s prospects of financial recovery, of rebuilding his life, have been severely threatened by this action. And how much money did Melbourne law firm Russell Kennedy get back against their $380,000 bill? Not a cent. Murray was already virtually destitute. It was an action based on the strict confines of the law, as futile it was vicious. And, while Russell Kennedy’s action may have been legal, was it appropriate? Was it fair? Was it ethical?

Needless to say, it was the same Mr Main who appeared at court last week in his firm’s proceedings against my constituent. The Federal Court is, of course, only one platform in our legal industry. There is the High Court, the Supreme Court, the County Court and the Magistrate’s Court. It is a labyrinth, with top lawyers commanding fees of $10,000 a day or higher for their services. According to research by Ibis, legal services in Australia are a $21 billion industry, employing nearly 100,000 people. It is a gravy train with many, many carriages.

But for the moment I would like to drill down into one aspect of this labyrinth, the Family Court. In many ways, this is both the most important and the most divisive part of our legal system. I say that because it goes to the heart of Australian society—our families and our children. The current state of the Family Court points to a tragic legacy left behind by the previous government.

The Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 was passed by the Senate and came into effect in 2012. This legislation changed the Howard government’s shared parenting reforms via a spurious claim to provide greater protection for children from family violence. The objective was to improve the Family Court’s decision making by giving priority to a child’s safety when determining what is in their best interests. The aim was also to make it easier for allegations of family violence and sexual abuse to be brought before the court. And was this successful?

Last year a retiring Family Court judge gave his view, which was reported in the Fairfax press. Justice David Collier had 14 years on the bench. And, keep in mind, it is rare for Family Court judges to speak publicly about their views. Many of us would recall the 1980 murder of Justice David Opas and the 1984 bombings of the Parramatta Family Court building and the homes of two judges. The Family Court is the flashpoint for the breakdown in family life. It is a place of heat and anger and stress. It is a place where lives collapse and are changed forever.

Justice Collier gives us clear insight into what is currently forging this tragic metallurgy of Australian families in crisis. He said unprecedented hostility was infiltrating the Family Court, with a willingness by parents to use their children to damage one another. ‘Allegations of child sexual abuse are being increasingly invented by mothers to stop fathers from seeing their children’, Justice Collier said. I quote from Justice Collier: ‘

When you have heard the evidence, you realise that this is a person who’s so determined to win that he or she will say anything. I’m satisfied that a number of people who have appeared before me have known that it is one of the ways of completely shutting husbands out of the child’s life.

Justice Collier called this ‘a horrible weapon’.

The continued use of false claims is undoubtedly fuelling the crisis of our Family Court system. Member for Dawson George Christensen has been a strong campaigner against our unfair family law and child support systems

He referred to the Gillard government amendment as a Trojan horse, loaded with consequences that would undermine some of the most basic human rights of children and parents, particularly fathers. This reform to the act provided for two primary concerns for the Family Court to consider when making parenting orders. The first concern was the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of their parents. The second concern was the need to protect children from harm and abuse. On the surface, both of these seem valid. However, the Gillard government’s amended act clarified the second primary consideration of violence over the shared parenting provisions. Where there is a conflict between these two primary considerations, the act now requires the courts to give more priority to the protection of children from harm and abuse. Is that a good idea? Of course it is in principle. But this amendment has allowed the introduction of many false allegations in the court. According to many Family Court practitioners—the judges, the clerks, the barristers and others—the system is on the brink of collapse.

The Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia told ABC radio earlier this month that cuts to legal aid have led to more and more people representing themselves. Chief Justice Diana Bryant said that the Family Court system was unquestionably compromised. She said that the Family Court produces decisions that do not stick and then you have people who are unhappy with decisions or who take matters into their own hands. Chief Justice Bryant said:

… there are mental health issues and the court needs to know about those issues and to know the extent of them, and you don’t have parties with the capacity to bring the right evidence, then you are certainly putting children at risk.

Aiding this breakdown of the Family Court system was the repeal of the sections—including 60CC(3)(c)—that were known as the friendly parent provisions. This meant the court is no longer required to consider the willingness and ability of a parent to facilitate a relationship with the other parent in determining the best interests of the child. Reforms by the Howard government were designed to get away from the adversarial system and allow a court to consider giving custody to the parent who was most likely to include the other parent in the child’s right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents.

Additional consideration under the aforementioned section also requires the court to consider the extent to which each parent has fulfilled or failed to fulfil his or her obligations to maintain the child. This includes the extent to which the father or mother has taken the opportunity to participate in decision making in relation to the child, as well as spending time with and communicating with the child. As divorce is no fault, the reasons for failing in this area are seldom considered, so parental alienation becomes a successful tactic. One parent presents an accusation against the other parent for failing to be involved. Excluding the other parent becomes the grounds to further eject the alienated parent.

Additionally, hearsay evidence of children is now allowed in Family Court proceedings. The provisions of the Evidence Act 1995 do not apply to child-related proceedings. The Gillard government repealed the section which allowed the courts to order costs against a party who has been found to have knowingly made false allegations or statements before the court. This means any accusations can be made in a Family Court hearing with impunity. Frequently, we hear unsupported accusations of abhorrent behaviour by one parent. As I said earlier, Justice Collier called this ‘a horrible weapon’. Lastly, we operate under a new definition of family violence. This means family violence now means just about anything. So it is open slather; there are claims, counter-claims and a veritable river of unsubstantiated accusations in Family Court proceedings.

A survey of 68 New South Wales magistrates concerning apprehended violence orders—AVOs—found that 90 per cent agreed that some AVOs were sought as a tactic to aid a person’s case in order to deprive a former partner of contact with their children. About a third of those who thought AVOs were used tactically indicated that it did not occur often, but one in six believed it occurred all the time. A similar survey of 38 Queensland magistrates found that 74 per cent agreed with the proposition that protection orders are used in Family Court proceedings as a tactic to aid a parent’s case and to deprive their partner of contact with their children.

It is time to ask ourselves if we are falling short of the ideal professed under the international Convention on the Rights of the Child. Included in this are the child’s right not to be separated from his or her parents against the child’s will, the child’s right to maintain contact with both parents if they separate, the child’s right to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings, and the child’s right to freedom of expression. Lastly, the convention provides that parents or legal guardians have the primary responsibility for the child’s upbringing.

As the member for Dawson said earlier this month, family law and child support are messy areas and there are no winners. But under the current system some of the losers are being turned into massive losers. That is even to the extent of losing their children and their lives. The current system is blatantly unfair and negligent. It is biased against fathers. It is unfair to children, who are the most vulnerable members of our communities. It must be fixed, as a matter of urgency.

 

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