This morning the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in two cases of great significance for solicitor-client disputes.
They are Cam Legal Services Ltd v Belsner and SGI Legal LLP v Karatysz.
A copy of the judgment can be found here: Belsner.APPROVEDJUDGMENTSFINAL
and here: Karatysz.APPROVEDJUDGMENTSFINAL
A copy of the summary can be found here: Belsner.Karatysz.JUDGMENTS SUMMRY
I shall be publishing a detailed analysis, later today.
This morning I have to walk a dog.
But in brief this is a stunning victory for the solicitors and a significant defeat for their former clients and their representatives.
Paragraph 14 says it all really:
For the reasons that appear in this judgment, I have decided in summary that (i) section 74(3) and Part 46.9(2) do not apply at all to claims brought through the RTA portal without county court proceedings actually being issued, (ii) the judge was wrong to say that the Solicitors owed the Client fiduciary duties in the negotiation of their retainer, (iii) although the Solicitors were not obliged to obtain the Client’s informed consent to the terms of the CFA on the grounds decided by the judge, the Solicitors did not comply with the SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors (the Code) in that they neither ensured that the Client received the best possible information about the likely overall cost of the case, nor did they ensure that the Client was in a position to make an informed decision about the case, (iv) the term in the Solicitors’ retainer allowing them to charge the Client more than the costs recoverable from the defendant was not unfair within the meaning of the CRA 2015, and (v) the court can and should reconsider the assessment on the correct basis, which is under paragraph 3 of the Solicitors’ (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009 (the 2009 Order), which requires the Solicitors’ costs to be “fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case”. The costs actually charged to the Client in this case were fair and reasonable.
The next question is: will this end here?
Or is the Supreme Court, the next destination.