You and the Law – 30th November 2010

Missing trustee

My children were left some money in a trust by a relative, but the sole trustee has disappeared.  The children have account books but can’t access the money, and the bank says they won’t get it until the trustee signs the money over to them.  I can’t see this ever happening.  What will happen to the money?  AP

You (or you children if they are now old enough) will have to apply to the Court for direction.  The Court (the Chancery Division of the High Court) will want to know in detail the steps you have taken to trace the absent trustee, but it does have the power to appoint trustees on your children’s behalf. Alternatively, if the children have now reached an age where they are due to receive the money, the Court could make an order for the bank to pay it over to them.

Pavement trip

I put in a claim for compensation after I fell on an uneven pavement.  The council’s insurers have rejected the claim after a surveyor’s report found ‘no actionable defects were located at the time’. 

We have requested a copy of the report, but this has been refused on the grounds that the Civil Procedure Rules apply.  Since the council is supposed to be working for me, surely I should be entitled to see it?  CM

You are entitled to see the report under what is known as the Personal Injury Protocol.  If the council refuses to deal with the claim then they must provide copies of the evidence to support their decision.  A photograph of the offending pavement would be very useful, although councils tend to repair dangerous pavements once an accident has been reported (to prevent further accidents!) and it’s possible that workmen have removed your evidence.  Most councils have a policy of defending such cases vigorously and you usually need a solicitor’s help.

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