The validity of the Conditional Fee Agreement (“CFA”) has yet again become the centre of a legal dispute. In the Court of Appeal last week, the judges ruled that a CFA was valid despite it detailing the wrong defendant (full case details can be found here: Malone v Birmingham Community NHS Trust  EWCA Civ 1376). It is in both the client’s and the solicitor’s interest that the CFA covers the relevant work to be done. The wording will generally be quite broad as a strategy will be conducted throughout the course of the proceedings and may change to achieve the end goal. In the Malone v Birmingham Community NHS Trust case, limiting the CFA to a particular defendant may have been inappropriate, however the case determines that naming the wrong defendant alone, is not reasonable justification to argue the entire validity of the CFA. The case highlights the importance of the solicitor’s accuracy when drafting the CFA, as well as the responsibility of all contractual parties to pay close attention when the agreement is entered. A good solicitor will be transparent and ensure that they explain the purpose of the CFA and what it means for you in the context of the long-term strategy of your case. You are right to question what options are available to you.
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.
A Conditional Fee Agreement becomes the centre of a legal dispute.
About the Author: Neil Kelley
Neil is a director at Griffin Law, and is also the head of Griffin Law's litigation and dispute resolution team. He has over twenty years’ experience in dispute resolution.