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

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 Agreement Regulations, SI 2013/609 were reviewed by a working committee of the Civil Justice Council in 2015. The working committee’s report entitled CJC report: Damages based agreements reform project. Drafting and Policy Issues was published in August 2015. It sets out a series of recommendations to make the regime more usable, including a new draft DBA regulations (DBA Regulations 2015). For information on the review, see News Analysis: Reform of Damages Based Agreements—CJC recommendations are published.

2017 initial assessment of the