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Contractual rights to deliver interim statute bills—the turning of the tide? (Richard Slade and Company plc v Erlam)

Published on: 23 February 2022
Published by: LexisNexis
  • Contractual rights to deliver interim statute bills—the turning of the tide? (Richard Slade and Company plc v Erlam)
  • What are the practical implications of this case?
  • What was the background?
  • What did the court decide?
  • Case details

Article summary

Dispute Resolution analysis: The judgment in this case canvasses many of the issues which arise routinely in assessments under the Solicitors Act 1974 (SA 1974): the status of the bills, whether a second retainer varied or replaced the first, and the existence (or otherwise) of ‘special circumstances’ sufficient to justify an assessment. However, by far the most significant aspect of the decision for future cases is the court’s consideration of when a firm’s retainer will be sufficiently ‘clear’ in providing a contractual right to deliver statute bills on an interim basis. In recent years, it has seemed harder and harder for solicitors to convince a court that their retainers contain such a right. The bulk of judicial comment (particularly from costs judges) has weighed in favour of imposing a high bar. His Honour Judge Gosnell’s judgment in this appeal pulls back to a less stringent threshold that is helpful to solicitors. Crucially, the court held that it is not necessary to spell out the consequences of delivering interim statute bills on the timing of the client’s entitlements to assessment. Written by Simon Teasdale, barrister at 4 New Square. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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