More developments relating to Solicitor / Own Client costs

There were further developments recently in the ongoing disputes resulting from clients challenging the level of costs charged by their former Solicitor.

Over 130 cases are being brought by Clear Legal Limited (T/A Checkmylegalfees.com) challenging the costs charged by Slater and Gordon to their former clients.  In Edwards & Others -v- Slater and Gordon UK Limited, several issues were dealt with by appeal, as in the first instance, the judge had made an order for disclosure in relation to documents held by the Defendant, and did not make an order for a stay, or for security of costs.  The judge also found that Slater and Gordon did not have to provide information relating to ATE resulting from a Part 18 Request.

Both the Claimant and Defendant appealed different decisions, and Mr Justice Ritchie presided over the hearing.

Slater and Gordon were ordered to disclose retainers and audio recordings of the signing of the retainers, and all other documents relating to the pleaded issues.  The Judge also rejected their argument that the case was being brought on the basis of champerty, and therefore no stay should be provided, nor a security of costs given.

There was also consideration as to whether Slater and Gordon must respond to Part 18 Requests for information regarding payments allegedly made by the ATE insurer relating to alleged secret commissions.  Mr Justice Ritchie overturned the judge’s ruling and ordered that Slater and Gordon should provide such information.

Overall, it wasn’t the best of days for Slater and Gordon, as they were unsuccessful on all three issues.  It may also not be great news for other Personal Injury firms who are fighting off similar claims from former clients.  It will be interesting to see further developments over coming months on other cases where the relationship between client and former solicitor has gone sour.

For any assistance with this, please do not hesitate to contact Tom Brocklebank here.