Lindsay Ellison SC Barrister | Wardell Chambers Sydney


After a short and uneventful career as a suburban solicitor, Lindsay was called to the bar in 1985.  He became a Senior Counsel in 2005.  He practices principally in Equity and Probate and has appeared in many leading NSW Wills and Estates cases. He frequently lectures barristers and solicitors, and occasionally Judges, on aspects of law and practice.  He is an accredited Mediator under the Australian Mediation Accreditation System. In 2015, Doyles listed Lindsay as a leading Senior Counsel in NSW Wills and Estate litigation.  In 2016, he became pre-eminent.  He is not sure why.  In 2017 that status was continued. In May 2016, he delivered the Sir Ninian Stephen lecture for Equity Trustees Limited. Lindsay is a former Secretary-General and later Vice President of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences, and a longtime member of the Australian Skeptics, the Samuel Griffith Society, the Sydney Institute, the Centre for Independent Studies, and the Goon Show Preservation Society. He is happily married to his first wife and has two teenage children and a dog.  He has no interest in sailing, skiing, golf, cooking or learning a foreign language and does not own a winery.  He has not the slightest intention of walking the el Camino de Santiago.  He does not wish to achieve a work/life balance.  He eats too much chocolate. Lindsay has made over 475 donations to the Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service.  He recommends you do the same.  His philosophy is that if you draw blood, the least you can do is to give some back. His presentations are not to be missed.

Curriculum Vitae

  •  Tertiary Qualifications:
    • Bachelor of Economics (B Ec) Sydney University 1979
    • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Sydney University 1983
  • Admitted as Solicitor:  July 1983
  • Admitted as Barrister: July 1985
  • Appointed Senior Counsel:  September 2005
  • Admitted in: High Court of Australia, NSW, Vic, ACT, Qld.

Current Appointments:
  • TEP (Trust & Estate Practitioner) by the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners
  • Accredited Mediator (National Mediation Accreditation System)
  • Dust Diseases Tribunal  claims Mediator on referral by Registrar
  • Supreme Court of New South Wales - private Mediator and neutral evaluator on appointment by Court.
  • Bar Association Professional Conduct Committee 1993-2002, 2004-2005

  • Marker “Legal Ethics for Barristers” exam during the 1990s and in June 2003
  • Lecturer on Litigants in Person - CPD, and the Bar Practice Course 2010-2017.

Leading Cases:

  • Springfield v. Brown (1991) 23 NSWLR 535 (first consideration of s.18A of the Wills Act);
  • Troja v. Troja (1994) 33 NSWLR 269 (which led to the enactment of the Forfeiture Act);
  • Palmer v. Blue Circle Southern Cement Ltd (1999) 48 NSWLR 318 (involving unjust enrichment and the defence of change of position);
  • Uniting Church v. Legge (2002) 55 NSWLR 293 (costs in Compensation Ct proceedings);
  • Public Trustee v. A M Hoipo Pty Ltd (1999) 19 CCR 215 (the role of the Public Trustee in Compensation Court proceedings);
  • Police Service v. Honeysett (2001) 53 NSWLR 592 (which contradicted the common law principle that police officers were not “employees”);
  • Hughes v. Hunters Hill Council (1992) 29 NSWLR 232 (concerning council misfeasance and trees in footpaths);
  • Marshall v. Carruthers [2002] NSWCA 47 (the status of a de facto spouse under the Family Provision Act);
  • Ryan v. Kazacos [2001] NSWSC 140 (can a suicide note be a s.18A will);
  • Re R [2000] NSWSC 886 (the Protective Division and powers of attorney);
  • Straede v. Eastwood [2003] NSWSC 280 (on the relevant evidence and principles of Forfeiture Act claims);
  • Millington v Wilkie (2005) 62 NSWLR 322 (the duty of care of an employer when construction safety regulations are breached);
  • Public Trustee v. Fitter [2005] NSWSC 1188 (the effect of amendments to the Forfeiture Act whereby acquitted killers may be subject to the Forfeiture Rule);
  • Becker v. Public Trustee [2006] NSWSC 76, 1146 [2007] NSWCA 136 (undue influence and fraud in probate);
  • Nicholls v. Hall [2007] NSWCA 356 (adult children and family provision);
  • Costa & Anor v Public Trustee [2008] NSWCA 223 (can a suicide note be a will and the role of an appellate court in applying facts found at trial);
  • Re Will of Jane [2011] NSWSC 624 (contested application for the court to make a statutory will);
  • Ireland v Retallack & Ors [2011] NSWSC 846 and 1096 (consideration of Court's control over solicitors' costs including Executor's prima facie indemnity costs where such costs may be related to unnecessary work and not reasonably incurred);
  • Petrovski v Nasev; Estate of Janakievski [2011] NSWSC 1275 and 1474 (first successful prosecution of allegation of undue influence in Probate since the 1870s, consideration of solicitor's role in taking instructions and Will making where purported testator not involved in giving instructions and apparently vulnerable), costs in probate;
  • RL v NSW Trustee and Guardian [2012] NSWCA 39, (2013) 84 NSWLR 263 reviewing the law as it applies to the principle of ademption;
  • Andrew v Andrew [2012] NSWCA 308, (2012) 81 NSWLR 656 consideration of whether the Succession Act 2006 effects a change from the principles applicable under the Family Provision Act, 1982;
  • Gray v Hart (No 2) [2012] NSWSC 1562 costs in probate;
  • Church v Mason [2012] NSWSC 1489, [2013] NSWCA 481 knowledge and approval in probate;
  • Phillips v James [2014] NSWCA 4 availability of subsequent assets as notional estate.
  • Mead v Lemon [2015] WASC 71 - Plaintiff child awarded $25 million out of estate in family provision claim - reduced to $6.14 million on appeal: Lemon v Mead [2017] WASCA 215.
  • Burke v Burke [2015] NSWCA 195 - community expectation, estrangement.
  • NSW Trustee & Guardian v Budniak, Estate of Stanislaw Budniak [2015] NSWSC 934 - testamentary capacity, procedure with regard to lost Will, knowledge and approval, last Will set aside.
  • Amprimo v Wynn [2014] NSWSC 991; [2015] NSWCA 286 can a provider of paid sexual services become an "eligible" person?
  • Smith v Johnson [2015] NSWCA 297 in which the discretion of the trial Judge is found to have miscarried, trial judgment set aside and discretion re-exercised to dismiss plaintiff's claim.
  • Revell v Revell [2016] NSWSC 947 in which the trial Judge found provision of $1.5 million was "proper and adequate".
  • Craig‑Bridges v NSW Trustee & Guardian [2017] NSWCA 197 in which the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the trial Judge who had found the deceased had capacity to make her last three Wills.
  • Lodin v Lodin [2017] NSWSC 10 former spouse who had property proceedings and an appeal in the Family Court of Australia obtains $750,000 out of the deceased’s estate ‑ reversed on appeal ‑ Lodin v Lodin [2017] NSWCA 327.

Other Activities:
  • Annual guest lecturer on “Ethical and other considerations of being an Expert Witness” as part of a Forensic Anthropology course (Dept of Anatomy and Histology) Sydney University.
  • Regular lecturer on probate and succession at CLE conferences (NSW, Qld, Tasmania, and Victoria)
  • Broadcaster - 2NBC -FM (1983-1989).

  • Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences (Secretary-General 2005-7, Councillor 2009-2011, Vice President 2011-2013)
  • Australia & New Zealand Forensic Science Society
  • Sydney Institute
  • Australian Skeptics
  • Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens (Sydney)
  • Centre for Independent Studies
  • Samuel Griffith Society
  • Goon Show Preservation Society.
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
  February 2018