Clients previously willing to pay lawyers by the hour are now looking at damages-based agreements in light of the coronavirus crisis, a leading City law firm has claimed.
The High Court has ordered the claimants in a major group action to disclose details of both the damages-based agreement and third-party funding arrangements they have entered into.
Boutique litigation law firm Harcus Parker has begun legal proceedings on behalf of so-called ‘mortgage prisoners’ who say they have been trapped paying more on their mortgages than they should have.
The government needs to be sure that allowing hybrid damages-based agreements will not encourage abuse by lawyers, such as speculative litigation, the lead civil servant has warned.
Changes to the damages-based agreement (DBA) regulations, including opening them up to defendants and allowing hybrid DBAs, have been put forward by an independent review.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has called for qualified one-way costs shifting to be extended beyond personal injury and the cap on damages-based agreements to be doubled to 50% for fast-track cases with fixed costs.
Sir Rupert Jackson last week told justice minister Lucy Frazer that the government was wrong to tread with caution over reforming the regime for damages-based agreements (DBAs). He said there was “no possible reason” why hybrid DBAs were not allowed when hybrid conditional fee agreements were.
Claimants did not act unreasonably in switching funding from a damages-based agreement to a conditional fee agreement shortly before trial, even though the defendants are now facing a much larger bill, a costs judge has ruled.