“…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.”
When does the six year limitation period begin to run for the purpose of recovering unpaid fees?
Applying principles established by the Court of Appeal in the nineteenth century case of Coburn v Colledge  1 QB 702 Master Leonard found that the contract of retainer between the solicitor and his client had ended in April 2013 when the solicitor’s partnership was converted to a limited company and he ceased to practice in his own name.
Consequently, it was determined that, despite the final bill not having been rendered until January 2014, any right to take legal action to recover payment for his legal services had been statute barred since the beginning of April 2019.
Managing a client’s expectations in litigation can be difficult. Where there is no CFA, the client has the privilege of being able to ignore his/her solicitors’ advice, holding out for whatever result they desire, however unrealistic, or simply having their day in court. However, what can you do about a client who refuses to accept your advice about making a settlement offer when acting under a CFA?