A group of family members were the claimants in litigation. They instructed a barrister directly to conduct the claim on their behalf. The barrister was suspended from practice during the course of acting for the family. However, despite being suspended from practice, the barrister continued to act on behalf of the family whilst engaged by another company owned by another barrister who were authorised to carry out legal services. The barrister negotiated a settlement to the litigation pursuant to which the family were to receive a significant payment of damages. However, he also sought to include a provision in the consent order which provided that a sum of money from the damages was to be paid directly to him in respect of costs to the exclusion of the company he was subsequently engaged by.
The family instructed the insured firm of solicitors to act in relation to the litigation. The insured firm concluded a settlement resulting in all settlement monies being paid to the family and not to the barrister. Subsequently, the Insured, in accordance with the family’s instructions, then negotiated a settlement of the fees due to the barrister and the company by whom the barrister was subsequently engaged following his suspension from practice.
The barrister brought proceedings against the insured firm of solicitors seeking recession of the agreement reached in respect of costs plus damages alleging that he entered into that agreement on the basis of “economic duress”. Caytons Law were instructed to act in relation to the defence of the claim. The barrister indicated to them that he brought the claim to extract a payment from insurers. Caytons Law advised that an application seeking an order that the barrister’s claim be struck out and/or summary judgment be awarded should be made That was because they considered the barrister’s claim was without merit for various reasons and because it was brought solely to extract a payment from insurers which should not be tolerated. Insurers and the insured firm of solicitors instructed Caytons Law to proceed with the application.
The application was listed to be heard on 28 September 2018. The Claimant did not attend the hearing. However, the Court still dealt with the application at length in the barrister’s absence. The Court dismissed the claim and awarded 100% of the costs claimed on behalf of the insured firm of solicitors which was an excellent result. Thank you to John Cayton, Sam Moore and Emily Harris for their hard work and assistance.