Picton Jones and Co v Arcadia Developments: 1989

The plaintiff chartered surveyors agreed to act in the purchase of amusement arcades, on the basis that their fees would be payable ‘in the event of ultimate success.’ The work involved applications for gaming licences and planning permissions. The work was successful, but the defendants would not pay the bill, saying the agreement was champertous and therefore unenforceable.
Held: The rule against champertous contracts applies only to work involving litigation, and so the agreement was not champertous. The fact that a professional rule prohibits certain actions does not of itself make such actions unlawful outside that professional context.


Judge J


[1989] 03 EG 85


England and Wales


ConsideredSavill Bros v Langman 1898
The court considered whether an agreement was champertous in the context of an application to licensing justices who were not considered to be sitting as a court and before whom there is no contest. . .
ConsideredIn re Trepca Mines (No 2) CA 1962
Champerty: Lord Denning MR said: ‘The reason why the common law condemns champerty is because of the abuses to which it may give rise. The common law fears that the champertous maintainer might be tempted, for his own personal gain, to inflame the . .
ConsideredWallersteiner v Moir (No 2) CA 1975
The court was asked whether Moir would be entitled to legal aid to bring a derivative action on behalf of a company against its majority shareholder.
Held: A minority shareholder bringing a derivative action on behalf of a company could obtain . .
CitedPickering v Sojex Services UK 1982
An agreement by a chartered surveyor to take payment for negotiating a reduction in rateable value conditional upon success was not champertous since no litigation was envisaged. . .
ConsideredTrendtex Trading Corporation v Credit Suisse CA 1980
A stay was sought against a bank which had financed a contract and was supporting litigation arising out of it.
Held: Although the liability in crime and tort had been abolished, Section 14(2) of the 1967 Act preserved the law as to the cases . .
ConsideredRegina v McFadden and Cunningham 1976
The court was asked whether a professionally improper agreement was thereby illegal also. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 12 April 2022; Ref: scu.223958