New ACT Supreme Court judgment supports plaintiff choice of financial manager

When a plaintiff doesn’t have financial capacity, they need to have a financial manager appointed to look after their funds.

Defendants and their lawyers push hard for the cheapest option, which may be the local public trustee.

The court in Williams v Hoang [2019] ACTSC 144 considered whether settlement monies should be managed by the default public trustee.

The judge noted that the paramount consideration was what was in the best interests of the plaintiff under a disability.

The judgment came down in support of the right of the plaintiff (through his mother, his litigation guardian) to choose the private trustee company (AET working with Aeran) which they felt would be best for them.

A plaintiff’s choice must be reasonable. Reasons for the choice must be given and the relative cost of other providers is relevant. But it doesn’t have to be the cheapest option.

This important and very welcome new decision includes a consideration of funds management cases including Singh v Calvary Hospital (No2) [2009] ACTSC 57, Gray v Richards [2014] HCA 40, Pel-Air Aviation Pty Ltd v Casey [2017] NSWCA 32.

The image is a stock image. It is not an image of the actual parties to this case.