The paying party complained that the agreement as to costs of the payee included an indemnity to be given against (potentially) a very large sum, and was champertous.
Held: Deputy Master Victoria Williams said: ‘It is not said in this case that there was any actual interference with justice . . I very much regret that I am of the view that, having considered the matters above, this agreement would to an unacceptable degree tend to create the sorts of temptations with which the public policy is concerned, and accordingly I must declare it unenforceable. Although this agreement has some features which are in the interests of justice, the nature of this particular indemnity clause being a broad, uncapped, potentially large liability apparently unsupported by a fund or insurance policy, triggered upon the loss of the case whatever the cause, places the solicitor in the position of having too much at stake.’ and ‘It would be unrealistic to expect a solicitor to keep a clear eye and an unbiased judgment, and to maintain that proper distance from the client and the litigation which it his duty to maintain, when the pressure mounts and ethical decisions are needed the consequences of which for the solicitor may be substantial personal liability under this clause.’
Deputy Master Victoria Williams
 EWHC 90117 (Costs)
Cited – Morris and Another v London Borough of Southwark QBD 5-Feb-2010
The residential tenant claimant sought damages from her council for failure to repair her flat. The counciil now objected to being asked to pay her costs, saying that the agreement with her solicitors was champertous, being a Conditional Fee . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 February 2021; Ref: scu.277367