Tuesday 22 February at 1.30pm – Wednesday 23 February 2022
The Appellant (Cam Legal Services), who was the Defendant in the court below, appeals the Order of Mr Justice Lavender, dated 16 October 2020, allowing the appeal of Respondent (Belsner), who was the Appellant below, from the Order on costs of DJ Bellamy, dated 14 August 2019.
The Appellant had represented Ms Belsner in the proceedings relating to the claim for personal injury arising out of a traffic accident in which she was involved on 5 February 2016. The agreement between the Applicant and the Respondent was a conditional free agreement. The claim was successful and the Appellant paid Ms Belsner the amount of damages minus their fees. Ms Belsner issued a Part 8 claim seeking assessment of the Appellant’s fees. DJ Bellamy made a final assessment pursuant to section 70 of the Solicitors Act 1974 of the Applicant’s bill of costs in the Order dated 14 August 2019. The Order was overturned on appeal, brought by Ms Belsner, by Mr Justice Lavender. Further appeal gave rise to the current proceedings.
Lavender J observed in paragraph 6 of the judgement that this was a test case. Judge said that the Law Society’s standard terms and conditions would be found in breach of the fiduciary duty to their clients; CPR 46.9. (2) is misleading because it appears only to require a written agreement than the solicitors can be paid more than is recovered from another party rather than fully informed consent based on specific examples, and very many solicitors’ retainer would be found to be invalid or enforceable.