Damages-based agreements (DBAs)
Damages-based agreements (DBAs)

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

  • Damages-based agreements (DBAs)
  • DBA regulations 2013
  • Reform of the DBA regulations—2015 onwards
  • Definitions
  • What is a DBA?
  • What rules apply for DBAs
  • Drafting a DBA
  • Interpreting a DBA
  • The enforceability of DBAs
  • Costs—costs budgeting
  • more

STOP PRESS: This Practice Note is under review following the judgment in Lexlaw Ltd v Zuberi on a preliminary issues hearing about whether a clause of a DBA made it unenforceable as it obliged the solicitor’s client to pay the solicitors sums other than those payments allowed for by regulations 4(1) and/or 4(3) of the Damages-Based Agreements Regulations 2013. For an insight into the decision, see News Analysis: Damages-based agreements—solicitors entitled to renumeration on termination of the agreement (Lexlaw v Zuberi).

DBA regulations 2013

The Damages-Based Agreement Regulations, SI 2013/609 (DBA Regulations 2013) prescribe the requirements of a damages-based agreement (DBA) which must be complied with if the DBA is to be enforceable as against the represented party. These apply to employment, personal injury and other civil matters where the agreement was signed on or after 1 April 2013.

Prior to 2013 it was unlawful to enter into a DBA for contentious work (except in employment claims).

Note that slightly different rules apply to DBAs in relation to personal injury and employment claims, which are beyond the scope of this Practice Note. For detailed guidance on DBAs in personal injury and employment claims, see the following Practice Notes:

  1. Damages-based agreements—personal injury and clinical negligence

  2. Damages-based agreements—employment tribunal matters

Reform of the DBA regulations—2015 onwards

2015 Working Committee review

The Damages-Based