Conditional fee agreements—definition and requirements

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Conditional fee agreements—definition and requirements
  • Abbreviations
  • What is a CFA?
  • Requirements for a CFA
  • Family proceedings
  • Success fee
  • Failure to comply with requirements
  • Failure to get informed consent to the amount of success fees
  • Setting aside a CFA on the basis of unfairness
  • Validity of the CFA
  • More...

Conditional fee agreements—definition and requirements

If dealing with personal injury cases, see: PI and clinical negligence developments—overview.

For information on discussions to be had with your client about methods of funding, see: Information on costs—overview.

Abbreviations

This Practice Note uses the following abbreviations:

ATE insuranceAfter the event insurance
CFAConditional fee agreement
CLSA 1990Courts and Legal Services Act 1990
AJA 1999Access to Justice Act 1999
CFA order, SI 2000/823Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2000, SI 2000/823
CFA order, SI 2013/689Conditional Fee Agreements Order, SI 2013/689

What is a CFA?

A CFA is defined as:

‘An agreement with a person providing advocacy or litigation services which provides for his fees and expenses, or any part of them, to be payable only in specified circumstances; and

A conditional fee agreement provides for a success fee if it provides for the amount of any fees to which it applies to be increased, in specified circumstances, above the amount which would be payable if it were not payable only in specified circumstances’

A CFA is therefore an agreement between a legal representative and their client whereby the legal representative will be paid a different level of fee depending on the outcome of the case. If the agreed result:

  1. is achieved—the legal representative will be paid a higher fee

  2. is not achieved—the legal representative will charge a lower rate or in some cases will not charge the client at

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