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Spencer v Wood, Court of Appeal, 15 March 2004

18 March 2004
The issues

Costs – Conditional Fee Agreement – whether enforceable.

The facts

The Claimant having settled his claim sought costs from the Defendant. The Claimant’s case was funded with the benefit of a Conditional Fee Agreement. The Judge ruled that the Agreement was unenforceable, since it had not satisfied Conditional Fee Agreements Regulations 2000 Regulation 3(i)(b) namely that a Conditional Fee Agreement which provides for a success fee “must specify how much of the percentage increase, if any, relates to the cost to the legal representative of the postponement of the payment of his fees and expenses”. The Judge found that this breach was a material one in that it was not clear from the CFA what costs were recoverable from the Defendant. It was therefore not enforceable under Section 58 Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.

The decision

1. The County Court Judge had been correct. The CFA was unenforceable. There had been a clear breach and Hollins -v- Russell applied.

Appeal dismissed.

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