Beware of signing a conditional fee agreement with your solicitor unless you fully intend to place yourself in their hands. Simon Wright, head of Personal Injury at Banner Jones Solicitors said, “Conditional fee agreements, where your solicitor is only paid in the event of a successful claim, can be a valuable way of keeping your financial risk low when taking someone to court. However, it is worth bearing in mind that when you sign a conditional fee agreement, you are signing a contract”.
This point was underlined in a recent case that was brought to the British Court of Appeal; where the insurer, albeit not the accident victims, was found to be at fault. The accident victims had signed up to a conditional fee agreement with a firm of solicitors which stated that, in the event of a successful case, the solicitor could recover their costs from each claimant’s opponent. The claimant’s insurer then proceeded to settle direct with the insurers for the other side in the case; excluding any reference or action on the part of the claimant’s solicitors. The insurer then argued that the solicitor was not entitled to any fees as they had not been active in resolving the case.
The court disagreed and ruled that the insurer must pay to the solicitor in each case the sums payable on settlement under terms of the conditional fee agreement signed by the claimants.
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