In what circumstances can you assign a claim or cause of action?

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

  • In what circumstances can you assign a claim or cause of action?
  • What is an assignment?
  • Can you assign a claim or cause of action?
  • What is maintenance or champerty?
  • Causes of action incidental to property rights can be assigned
  • What is a 'genuine commercial interest' such that assignment of the claim is valid?
  • The decision of the House of Lords in Trendtex
  • Post-Trendtex
  • Assigning the damages recoverable in a claim
  • Assigning different types of causes of action—contract, tort, insurance, debt, property, restitution and insolvency
  • More...

In what circumstances can you assign a claim or cause of action?

This Practice Note sets out the requirements and considerations for permitted assignment of claims or causes of action in English civil litigation.

For guidance on how to assign a claim or cause of action, with particular consideration as to what should be included in the assignment documentation, see Practice Note: How do I assign a claim or cause of action?

Note: in this Practice Note, we refer to the assignment of both causes of action and claims. We define a cause of action as '...a factual situation the existence of which entitles one person to obtain from the court a remedy against another person' (Letang v Cooper) and a claim as the formal assertion of a cause of action by a claimant against a defendant. In the authorities, the phrases 'assigning a cause of action' and 'assigning a claim' are sometimes used interchangeably. For the purposes of this Practice Note, unless the context indicates otherwise, we refer to:

  1. assigning 'causes of action' when considering whether the assignment of causes of action/claims is permissible, as well as the assignment of causes of action/claims before proceedings have been commenced, and

  2. assigning 'claims' in respect of the assignment of claims post-commencement of proceedings

What is an assignment?

An assignment is the transfer of a right or an interest vested in

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