- Frank Warren entered into two CFA’s with his former solicitor in relation to: (1) a claim for breach of contract; and (2) a claim of defamation.
- Despite his success in both cases, Mr Warren attempted to avoid paying the balance of his solicitor’s fee, as per their contractual arrangement set out in the CFA.
- Mr Warren’s argument was that he did not recover any damages or costs from the defendant due to their bankruptcies and therefore given that he had not received any compensation, he did not believe the fees due to the former solicitors were owed.
- Mr Warren, to his own detriment, admitted that he did not read the documentation he was asked to sign.
See full case details here: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Costs/2018/B6.html&query=(frank)+AND+(warren)The court found that the CFA made “clear references to and warnings to Mr Warren about his liability to pay his solicitors’ costs, whether recovered from an opponent or not”. It is normal practice that the balance of the solicitors’ costs is recovered from the other side, from the damages successfully received from the opposing party or from the client who is contractually obligated under the CFA. A solicitor should always carry out an assessment to ensure it is commercially viable for the recovery of: (1) compensation for the client; and (2) the balance of the legal costs. It is wise however, to always be prepared to pay the full solicitor’s fee, if their fees cannot be recovered from the other side. As an alternative, it may be commercially viable to consider obtaining an After the Event insurance policy. You would pay a premium which will insure against paying the balance of your solicitor’s fees, alongside other costs. There is no reason why you should be afraid of conditional fee agreements. A good solicitor will be transparent and do the following to make sure you are entering into the best possible agreement:
- Assess the merits of your claim;
- Review the likelihood of recovery i.e. whether the defendant is able to make payment of the compensation sought (if applicable) and/or make payment of any costs that they may be ordered to pay by the Court;
- Discuss various fee structures that may be available to you;
- Ensure that you understand the fee structure on the table.
Griffin Law is a dispute resolution firm comprising innovative, proactive, tenacious and commercially-minded lawyers. We pride ourselves on our close client relationships, which are uniquely enhanced by our transparent fee guarantee and a commitment to share the risks of litigation. If you have any specific questions regarding a dispute, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01732 52 59 23.