- Solicitors’ retainer must expressly provide for interim statute bills (Erlam v Edmonds Marshall McMahon)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Were the bills reasonably complete?
- Were the bills interim statute bills or one Chamberlain bill?
- If the bills were interim statute bills, did any special circumstances exist which would entitled Mr Erlam to an assessment of the bills which had been delivered more than 12 months ago?
- Should the court exercise its discretion to prevent an assessment of the bills which were raised more than one but less than 12 months ago and/or impose any conditions on the assessment?
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: The SCCO held that a series of bills sent by a firm of solicitors to their client were not interim statute bills. The fact that the solicitors were instructed in respect of several matters did not make the retainer a general contract of services. The costs judge made it clear that, where solicitors wish to raise interim statute bills, they must ensure that their client care documents contain a sufficiently clear entitlement to do so, otherwise any interim bills raised will be considered requests for payments on account. Written by Alex Bagnall, technical manager at Total Legal Solutions.
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