Loescher v Dean: ChD 1950

The plaintiff sought specific performance, and obtained an order that the defendant vendor should convey the property to him on the payment for it. The plaintiff paid the sum to the defendant’s solicitors, who paid it into their client account. The plaintiff then served a garnishee order nisi on those solicitors for his costs against the defendant. The solicitors, who had not yet rendered a bill of costs to their client, took out a summons for a charging order under s 69 of the 1932 Act, on the sum paid by the plaintiff.
Held: The money was not entrusted to the solicitor for any specific purpose, but was paid in the ordinary course of his business as solicitor of the client. He received it as the client’s agent. On receipt of the money the solicitor had a lien over it for his unpaid costs and therefore a creditor could not attach it.
The obligation of the solicitor under a particular purpose trust to repay his client was distinguished from the obligation of a solicitor who holds a client’s money as trustee in a client account. In the latter case, the solicitor’s obligation to repay such money to his client is not incompatible with the solicitor exercising a right of lien or set off. The solicitor is entitled to say to the client: ‘you have not paid my bill and I shall not pay you your money until you have’
Harman J
[1950] Ch 491
Solicitors Act 1932 69
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedIrwin Mitchell v Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office and Allad CACD 30-Jul-2008
The solicitors had been paid funds on account of their fees in defending the client. By the time a freezing order was made under the 2002 Act in respect of his assets, the firm’s fees exceeded the amount held. The court was asked what was to happen . .
CitedWithers Llp v Rybak and Others ChD 9-May-2011
The claimant solicitors sought a declaration as to whether they had a right to assert a solicitor’s common law lien over sums in its client account. The defendant clients had asserted a security interest in the money and had assigned that interest, . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 May 2021; Ref: scu.416226