MOVING FROM LEGAL AID TO CFAS: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

NB see the appeals in relation to these issues discussed here .

There have been recent developments in relation to the issue of the reasonableness of claimant solicitors moving from legal aid to conditional fee agreements. The first case upholds a decision that the move from legal aid to public funding was reasonable. The other two found that the move was not reasonable and the additional liabilities and ATE insurance was not recoverable from the defendants.

THE DECISION IN HYDE

A previous post looked at the decision of Master Rowley in Hyde -v- Milton Keynes Hospital [2015] EWHC B17. Where the decision to move from legal aid to a conditional fee agreement was found to be reasonable given that public funding was exhausted.

Rachel Rothwell, writing in the Law Society Gazette, reports that this decision was upheld by Mr Justice Soole in Milton Keynes Foundation Trust -v- Hyde [2016] EWHC 72 (QB).

BY WAY OF CONTRAST: ADDITIONAL LIABILITIES DISALLOWED

The DACbeachroft website contains details of two cases where the NHS LA successfully challenged the payment of additional liabilities.

  • Arianna Ramos v Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where Master Leonard found that the decision to stop legal funding was not made on the basis of adequate advice.  The success fee, and the ATE premium, were irrecoverable against the defendant.
  • Similarly in Oliver Davis v Wiltshire Primary Care Trust the success fee and ATE premium were held not to be recoverable against the defendant.  The decision to change from legal aid to a CFA was not a reasonable decision, nor to the claimant’s advantage.

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