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Cut to Success Fees in Defamation Cases Delayed

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Further to my recent articles, the rollout of the limitation to success fees in defamation cases has been delayed by the former House of Commons Speaker, namely, Lord Martin of Springburn.

Further to my recent articles, the rollout of the limitation to success fees in defamation cases has been delayed by the former House of Commons Speaker, namely, Lord Martin of Springburn. 

Lord Martin has tabled a motion of regret against a proposal to slash success fees in defamation cases by 90%. The current maximum that can be claimed is 100% and the intention is to impose a limitation of 10%. 

The motion will result in a full debate in the House of Lords.  Lord Martin believes that the proposals were not given sufficient time for consultation with all professional and legal bodies concerned.

Lord Martin told the Law Society Gazette:

"I am not about the business of delaying anything - that's not what this is about.  It's a way of complaining to the government that there is unhappiness about the parliamentary order.  If my motion is carried, ministers will have to take note of the feelings of the House of Lords".

He also said:

"The argument put forward by the media is that 100% success fees are too high and have caused the pendulum to swing too much in favour of claimants.  My view is that to reduce success fees to 10% is pulling the pendulum too far the other way". 

The feeling is that a limitation of say 50% would be a reasonable limitation to impose. This would not affect access to justice as claimant lawyers would still act under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) as they would be able to make a reasonable profit for the risk taken in funding the matter on a CFA. 

The news will come of great interest to claimant solicitors who practice in this area of law and of huge concern to journalists and writers who will still complain that a 50% success fee would be too high. 

If you would like further information about any of the matters relating to this article then please contact Andrew McAulay (a.mcaulay@clarionsolicitors.com) of our Costs and Litigation Funding Department.  

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