The West

Rinehart feud stymies legal team
Fighting on: John Hancock. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Gina Rinehart's two estranged children will not be allowed to use the legal team which has fought their battle against the multibillionaire for the past 18 months after a surprise decision by their sister Hope Welker to block the lawyers from working for them.

The decision, which came late on Sunday night, forced the NSW Supreme Court to adjourn the case again yesterday when the lawyer for John Hancock and Bianca Rinehart told the judge he could not proceed.

Andrew Bell QC said Mrs Welker had initially given her consent for her siblings to retain the same legal team they had when she was spearheading the case but had then decided to withdraw it at the last minute.

To continue representing Mrs Rinehart's children, the lawyers needed the consent of Mrs Welker, who originally launched the legal action in September 2011.

She withdrew from the case two months ago after running out of money.

Her two siblings have resolved to continue the legal action.

Late yesterday, Mr Hancock said the move was not a setback.

"We've been forced to change counsel. Ouch," he said.

"But we've had backup for some time and look forward to the main event in October."

The case, which is set down for a seven-day trial from October 1, was adjourned until Thursday.

Richard McHugh, who represents Mrs Rinehart's youngest daughter Ginia, told the court Mr Hancock's name had been put forward as a possible trustee of the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust, which owns a quarter of the family company, if he and Bianca were successful in their attempt to oust their mother.

Mr McHugh said evidence to be prepared on the children's proposed trustee was likely to be "extensive" and "not very pleasant".

The West Australian

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