To avoid the presumption applied by CPR 46.9(3)(c) the solicitor is required to explain to the client that the costs may not be recovered because they were unusual. “Unusual” must therefore be read in the context of a between the parties assessment. That is not to be equated with costs which are merely “unreasonable”. A solicitor is not required to inform the client that particular costs may not be recovered because a court may conclude that they were not reasonably incurred or reasonable in amount.
“The rules governing service are clear that it is the registered office or principal place of business – which appear to be one and the same in this case – which needs to be used as the postal address for service upon a limited company. I have no doubt that errors such as have occurred here are often dealt with on a practical basis by amendment in the manner attempted by the claimant’s solicitors. But there is nothing within the rules to require one party to assist the other and a practical solution does not alter the legal position. It is one which the defendant is entitled to uphold, should it wish to do so.”
“…in my view the Judge was entitled to find that the Respondent had neither terminated the Conditional Fee Agreement nor done what amounted to a repudiatory breach of that agreement. Nor do I agree with the Appellant that the correspondence showed an irretrievable breakdown in the necessary relationship of trust and confidence. In modern times, solicitors have to accept that complaints (whether of poor service or as to fees) go with the territory of professional practice.”
“…the Defendants have already accepted for the purposes of these proceedings that the Claimant’s General Retainer invoices, whether individually or collectively, had the status of a statute bill or bills, and both parties are now in consequence bound by a judgment that can only have been given on that basis. It is, as Mr Slade has said, too late for them to pursue another case now.”
The Claimant solicitors acted for the Claimant in matrimonial proceedings between November 2013 and September 2018. Following a “long history of protracted, difficult litigation” including a divorce suit, ancillary relief and Family Law Act non-molestation and occupation order applications the Claimant faced total legal costs in the sum of £263,426.11.
In Belsner v Cam Legal Services Ltd, Mr Justice Lavender determined that a solicitor who wishes to rely on having been given informed consent for the purposes of CPR 46.9(2) must not only point to a written agreement which meets the requirements of the rule, but must also show that his client gave informed consent to that agreement insofar as it permitted payment to the solicitor of an amount of costs greater than that which the client could have recovered from another party to the proceedings.
Suing for unpaid fees? In this case The Hon. Mr Justice Butcher considered the rights of the client upon being sued for payment of unpaid fees to challenge the amount of those fees sought by way of non statutory assessment.
In this case, a dispute arose as to the terms of the retainer as between the solicitor and client . It was broadly agreed that at the parties’ initial meeting in December 2017 it had been agreed that Mr Slade would act on Mr Murray’s behalf to the conclusion of his case for a fixed fee of £50,000 plus VAT including all disbursements. Following a PTR in or around May 2018 Mr Murray expressed dissatisfaction with his barrister and told Mr Slade “you had better get this sorted out”. In response, Mr Slade retained another barrister, Mr Moraes, for a fee of £25,000 + Vat. This was as against the previous barrister’s fee of £10,000 + Vat. The parties differed in their evidence as to what happened next.
In this SCCO decision on a preliminary issue before the start of a Solicitors Act assessment Master Rowley found that whilst the interim statute bills rendered to the client by his solicitors throughout the life of the retainer were to all intents and purpose statute in form and content, the retainers (private and then CFA) did not allow them to be rendered.
A solicitor who wishes to rely on having been given informed consent for the purposes of CPR 46.9(2) must not only point to a written agreement which meets the requirements of the rule, but must also show that his client gave informed consent to that agreement insofar as it permitted payment to the solicitor of an amount of costs greater than that which the client could have recovered from another party to the proceedings. For this purpose, the solicitor must show that he made sufficient disclosure to the client.