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The Supreme Court has refused to hear a long-running dispute over legal fees between the prominent Christchurch-based Kain family and Wynn Williams.

The $150,000 legal bill at the centre of the Supreme Court decision, which was released yesterday, was a "success fee" for Wynn Williams' lawyers representing the Kain family in a massive legal wrangle played out during the 2000s.

The Kain family was embroiled in complex litigation over the way trusts relating to several Hawke's Bay farms, including Mangaheia Station, were run.

The case went to the Supreme Court. The Kains, represented by Wynn Williams of Christchurch, were partially successful in their bid. In 2008 Wynn Williams invoiced the family for an agreed "success fee" of $150,000.

The Kains paid up on the basis it be refunded if the Kains succeeded in challenging the fee in a complaint to the Law Society, but the society found the agreement was fair and reasonable.

The Kains challenged in the Court of Appeal and lost.

Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias and justices John McGrath and Robert Chambers said the Kains' claims that the fee was unlawful were of no merit, and dismissed the claim for leave to appeal.

Michael Berry. The Press. 9th April 2013

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