Court refuses to pay 100% success fee because trial had not started


01 June, 2015

James v David Ireland (2015)[2015] EWHC 1259 (QB) QBD (Slade J) 05/05/2015

The High Court has helped to clarify the circumstances in which a success fee of 100% is payable. The defendant in a RTA claim appealed an Order of Master Campbell after he found the trial of the action had commenced and that accordingly the claimant was entitled to recover a success fee of 100% on base costs. The uplift in costs would have resulted in costs in of over £320,000.

The hearing of the claim had been listed for three days and was due to start on 8 June 2011. The trial of the issue of quantum was adjourned on the first day. The issue of liability was stood out on the second day. The Claim was then settled before the next hearing.

The question before the Master was whether the trial of the issue of liability had commenced before it was stood out? The Master held that the liability trial started on 8 June 2011 after the application to adjourn the issue of quantum was determined.

The High Court disagreed and confirmed that the 100% percentage increase is payable when a settlement is reached after the commencement of the final contested hearing, or in this case, contested hearing of the liability issue. It is not triggered by the commencement of any hearing of whatever nature related to the contested liability hearing. Accordingly the claim for a 100% increase in solicitor's and barrister's fees was dismissed.

For further information please contact Sarah Wilkinson on 01254 662831 or email


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