AB -v- Cordell & Co Solicitors : refund of £2,305.23 obtained for client
Mr.B had been involved in a road traffic accident on 7th July 2017 following which he instructed Cordell & Co who, having entered into a "no win no fee" agreement, n around July 2018 achieved a settlement for him of compensation totaling £12,696.13, along with their fixed costs under the RTA portal.
From his compensation the solicitors deducted a success fee of £2,449.23 inclusive of VAT, so Mr.B. received the sum of £10,246.90 in damages.
Concerned about under-settlement and the level of deduction Mr.B. consulted other solicitors, who raised matters with Cordell & Co, but ultimately the potential claim went no further.
Mr.B instructed us in October 2018 and we requested various papers from the solicitors, along with their statute bills. Cordell & Co delivered their statute bills which totalled £3,938.73 on 20th November 2018 and an application for assessment under s.70(1) Solicitors Act 1974 was sent for issue on behalf of Mr.B on 14th December 2018.
Shortly afterwards Cordell & Co purported to deliver a new statute bill totaling £7,969.50 (more than double the original bills) and seeking the difference from Mr.B. Their rationale for doing so was that, in raising an allegation of under-settlement via other solicitors, Mr.B was in breach of the terms of the original no-win, no fee agreement.
In response to the application under the Solicitors Act Cordell & Co filed and served a Counterclaim alleging breach of the retainer and, shortly before the first directions hearing, an application for permission to substitute the new higher bill for the old one.
At a hearing before District Judge Bellamy in the High Court in Sheffield on 5th April we were successful in having both the Counterclaim and the application struck out, with Cordell & Co being ordered to pay Mr.B's costs.
Shortly afterwards the case was compromised by the solicitors accepting an offer, made back in November 2018, to refund Mr.B. the sum of £2,305.23 and pay his costs of the proceedings.