Whilst speaking at the Civil Justice Council seminar on the government’s post-implementation review of part 2 of LASPO, Master Gordon-Saker raised concern over the “routine” blanket charging of 100% success fees, capped at 25% of the damages, in low-value cases.
As someone who has attended many Infant Approval Hearings on behalf of children involved in low-value claims, this is one point to which the Senior Costs Judge’s concerns resonates with me quite strongly. Whilst there is a general overall reluctance by Judges to make an order providing for deduction from a child’s damages in particular, that order is capable of being made. I am often faced with the challenge of persuading a Judge to allow deduction; a challenge which is made extremely difficult in the absence of a risk assessment.
In my experience, without a proper risk assessment conducted at the outset of the claim, together with corroborative evidence of the work done to consider those risks, the Court will simply not allow an order to be made in the circumstances where the client is a child.
For practitioners, having a properly considered risk assessment is a necessity. Solicitors run the risk of potentially losing out on the benefit of their particular funding arrangement as a result of a simple omission.
If I am able to assist with attendance at these hearings, or advice on funding arrangements involving a deduction to damages, do not hesitate to get in touch.