Thai Trading (a Firm) v Taylor and Taylor (of Taylors Solicitors, Caversham): CA 27 Feb 1998

A solicitor had agreed with his wife to act for her in litigation on the understanding that he would only recover his profit costs if she succeeded.
Held: This agreement did not offend public policy. This type of agreement was distinguished from a contingency fee agreement which entitled a solicitor to a reward over and above his ordinary profit costs if he won. The latter was an arrangement which had always been condemned by English courts as tending to corrupt the administration of justice. The provided that a solicitor engaged in any contentious business might not agree to receive a contingency fee (a fee payable only in the event of success in the proceedings). The fact that a professional rule prohibited a particular practice did not of itself make the practice contrary to the general law.
Millett LJ said that fears that lawyers might be tempted by conditional fee arrangements to act improperly were exaggerated, and that there was a countervailing public policy in making justice readily accessible to persons of modest means.
Millett LJ, Kennedy and Hutchison LJJ
Times 06-Mar-1998, Gazette 25-Mar-1998, Gazette 16-Apr-1998, [1998] QB 781, [1998] EWCA Civ 370, [1998] 1 Costs LR 122, [1998] 2 FLR 430, [1998] Fam Law 586, [1998] 3 All ER 65, [1998] 2 WLR 893, [1998] PNLR 698, [1998] 3 FCR 606
Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, Solicitors Practice Rules 1987
England and Wales
(Overlooked?)Swain v The Law Society HL 1983
The Solicitors’ Practice Rules had the force of a statute, being rules made by the Council of the Law Society with parliamentary sanction for the protection of that section of the public who might be in need of legal advice, assistance or oversight. . .

Cited by:
DistinguishedHughes v Kingston Upon Hull City Council QBD 9-Nov-1998
The Solicitors Practice Rules have the effect of law, and it is still improper to agree to pursue contentious proceedings on a contingency fee arrangement without specific statutory sanction, especially in criminal proceedings. An agreement for . .
Not followedGeraghty and Co v Awwad and Another CA 25-Nov-1999
The court considered an assertion that a contract for fee sharing with a solicitors firm was unenforceable being in breach of the Solicitors Practice Rules.
Held: The court refused to follow Thai Trading. There should no longer be any common . .
CitedHollins v Russell etc CA 22-May-2003
Six appeals concerned a number of aspects of the new Conditional Fee Agreement.
Held: It should be normal for a CFA, redacted as necessary, to be disclosed for costs proceedings where a success fee is claimed. If a party seeks to rely on the . .
CitedKenneth L Kellar Carib West Limited v Stanley A Williams PC 24-Jun-2004
(Turks and Caicos Islands) The appellant had failed in his action but argued that he should not be called upon to pay the costs of the respondent because there had been an unlawful conditional fee agreement. The bill had referred to one factor as . .
IncorrectWestlaw Services Ltd and Another v Boddy CA 30-Jul-2010
The claimant said that it was due sums from the estate of the deceased solicitor. The executors said that the agreement was unlawful in that it had amounted to an agreement to share fees with an unauthorised body.
Held: The agreement was . .
CitedSibthorpe and Morris v London Borough of Southwark CA 25-Jan-2011
The court was asked as to the extent to which the ancient rule against champerty prevents a solicitor agreeing to indemnify his claimant client against any liability for costs which she may incur against the defendant in the litigation in which the . .
CitedCallery v Gray (1) and (2) HL 27-Jun-2002
Success fees and ATE premiums were recoverable
Objection was made to a claimed uplift of 20% sought by the plaintiff’s solicitors. The defendant’s insurers said that there had been little at risk for them.
Held: The system of conditional fees insurance had been introduced to remedy defects . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 22 October 2021; Ref: scu.143848