In a County Court judgment handed down on 11 May 2016 regarding District Judge Jenkinson’s decision on CFA assignment in Jones v Spire Healthcare, His Honour Judge Graham Wood QC has allowed the Claimant’s appeal – thereby rendering assignment of CFAs between separate firms of solicitors valid and enforceable and allowing recovery of both pre- and post-assignment costs.Read More »
In Webb v London Borough of Bromley 2016 (unreported), the Claimant challenged a decision by Master Rowley following the Provisional Assessment of the Claimant’s Bill of Costs. Within the Provisional Assessment, Master Rowley had found an assigned CFA between Lefevre LLP to Glamorgan Law LLP (on behalf of the Claimant) to be unenforceable as it failed to comply with the CFA Order 2013. The Master awarded no fees following the transfer to Glamorgan Law LLP other than disbursements paid directly by the Claimant.
The Claimant proceeded to challenge that decision and the matter proceeded to an oral hearing on 18 February 2016. Master Rowley listened to submissions on behalf of both parties but again concluded at paragraphs 60 and 61 of the Judgment that the CFA was unenforceable and that the assigned document failed to comply with the fundamental features of a CFA post 01 April 2013. The Master confirmed that “non-compliance with the Regulations is fatal” and proceeded to revise his original decision and concluded that “those costs relating to Glamorgan Law LLP are not recoverable either as to base costs or as to the success fee”.
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On 11 September 2015 DJ Jenkinson, sitting in Liverpool County Court, held that a Conditional Fee Agreement was not capable of assignment between two firms where the initial Conditional Fee Agreement pre dated LASPO and the assignment occurred after 01 April 2013.
In the case of Jones v Spire Healthcare the judge held that it was not possible to assign a personal contract, and that the attempt to assign was in actual fact a novation, which is the substitution of a new contract in place of an old one.
Due to the assignment postdating 01 April 2013, the new contract failed to comply with the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 hence rendering it unenforceable.
The decision is listed for an appeal before HH Judge Wood at Liverpool County Court on 16 December 2015.
Watch this space – an in-depth analysis will be provided once the decision is released.
If you have any questions or queries in relation this blog please contact Joanne Chase (firstname.lastname@example.org and 0113 336 3327) or the Clarion Costs Team on 0113 2460622.