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Civil litigation results

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Heslop v Cousins [2007] 3 NZLR 679

On the day that the Heslops were due to settle an important sale transaction, their solicitor, Mr Cousins, refused to act unless his fees were paid in full. He refused to release approximately $90,000 of funds held in his trust account to enable the Heslops to settle. The transaction had to settle to enable a proposal to the creditors to proceed and to clear indebtedness to the Heslop's bank and to secure the option to purchase a ten acre block of land at some stage in the future.

As a result of the solicitor's actions the sale transaction was cancelled, the proposal to the creditors fell over, Mr Heslop was bankrupted and suffered a major heart attack.

Later, we were asked to provide a second opinion and were then instructed to bring a claim on behalf of Mr and Mrs Heslop and the trustees of their family trust against their former solicitor and bank.

The claim against the solicitor occupied a five week hearing before Chisholm J in late 2006 and early 2007. Our clients were awarded damages and costs together totaling $2.2 million, including an award of general damages of $100,000 which is one of the highest awards made of that type in New Zealand.

Read the High Court judgment here >

Read the Costs judgment here >

Read the Court of Appeal judgment regarding stay of execution here >

What our clients said:

"We employed Parker and Associates in 2005, to represent us in a complicated legal case which covered many aspects of law. Over the last two years we have been impressed by the high standard of professionalism and ethics displayed by Dan and his colleagues. When we first sought a legal opinion from Dan, we were in an extremely vulnerable position, having exhausted what we felt were all legal avenues available to us. Dan treated us with respect and empathy and gave us an honest appraisal of our situation and we remain eternally grateful he was prepared to take our case.

 

Throughout the course of the proceedings and subsequent court case, Parker and Associates always kept us informed of developments and endeavoured to help us understand the intricate legal system. We always felt we were being listened to and felt as if we were part of a team working towards a common goal. During the twenty four day High Court hearing Dan and Merran worked long hours to ensure they were well prepared and their office supported them in this. We were grateful for the guidance and support shown to us throughout what was a stressful and demanding time and this gave us confidence during our time in the witness box. Parker and Associates’ representation culminated in very successful judgments from the High Court and the Appeal Court, which included one of the highest awards for General Damages given in New Zealand."

- Roger and Jenny Heslop