CONDITIONAL FEE AGREEMENTTHE NATURE OF THE AGREEMENT
CHANDRA SEKAR (Counsel)
PROFESSIONAL CLIENT (Solicitors)
CHANDRA SEKAR (Counsel)
PROFESSIONAL CLIENT (Solicitors)
1. This agreement forms the basis upon which instructions are accepted by Counsel from the Professional Client to act on a Conditional Fee basis for the Client in his/her Claim against the Respondent.
2. In this agreement “Counsel” means Mr Chandra Sekar.
3. “The Professional Client” means Professional Client Solicitors.
4. “Chambers” means Angell Park Chambers, Unit 11 Amberley Court, Angell Road, London, SW9 7HL.
5. The “Client” is MR LAY CLIENT.
6. The “Respondent” is RESPONDENT LIMITED.
7. The “Claim” is for Unfair Dismissal, Race, Sex and Disability Discrimination.
8. “Brief” means all the essential papers in the case including:
a. IT1 (Application);
b. IT3 (Notice of Appearance);
c. Any additional pleadings (Amendments to the IT1 and/or IT3, Requests for Further Particulars and responses, etc);
d. All documents thus far disclosed by the Respondent;
e. Instructions from client and their documents;
f. Full statement of loss and position from complaint to the present and future financially of the lay client;
g. All Correspondence between the parties;
h. Court orders, directions and correspondence (including if applicable previous appeal decisions);
i. Any other relevant material (including if applicable any explanation of lateness with any application).
SCOPE OF THIS AGREEMENT
9. This relates to the Full Merits Hearing and terminates when:
a. the claim is won, lost or otherwise concluded; or
b. this agreement is terminated.
c. For the avoidance of doubt, this agreement does not cover appeals, proceedings to enforce any award or interlocutory work such as:
i. directions hearings; or
nor any separate agreement as to instructions and remuneration to Counsel for such matters.
10. This agreement is a contract at law. The relationship of Counsel and the Professional Client shall be governed by the Terms of Work under which Barristers offer their services to persons licensed by the Law Society, save that where such terms of work are inconsistent with the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales, the Code of Conduct shall prevail.
11. Counsel must be provided with:
a. A copy of the Conditional Fee Agreement/Contingency Fee Agreement between the Professional Client and the Client;
b. The brief;
c. all relevant papers and risk assessment material, including all advice from experts and other Solicitors or Barristers to the Client in respect of the claim, which is currently available to the Professional Client;
d. any offers of settlement already made by the Client or the Respondent.
12. The Professional Client confirms that the Client has consented to the terms and conditions set out in this agreement insofar as they relate to the Client.
13. Counsel is not bound to act on a Conditional Fee basis until he has signed this agreement.
OBLIGATIONS OF COUNSEL
14. Counsel agrees to act diligently on all proper instructions from the Professional Client subject to paragraph 14 hereof.
15. Counsel is not bound to accept instructions outside the scope of this agreement.
16. Instructions are deemed to include instructions to Counsel to advise on settlement (whether orally or in writing).
OBLIGATIONS OF THE PROFESSIONAL CLIENT
17. The Professional Client agrees:
a. promptly to supply a copy of this agreement to the Client;
b. to comply with each and every Order or Direction by the Employment Tribunal within the time stipulated;
c. to act diligently in all dealings with Counsel and the prosecution of the claim;
d. to consult Counsel on the need for advice and action following:
i. the service of Originating Application(s) and/or Notice(s) of Appearance; and
ii. requests for Further and Better Particulars;
iii. to deliver within a reasonable time papers reasonably requested by Counsel for consideration;
e. promptly to bring to Counsel’s attention:
i. any offer to settle;
ii. any evidence, information or communication which may materially affect the merits of any issue in the case; and
iii. any other factor coming to the Professional Client’s attention which may affect Counsel’s entitlement to success fees, whether before or after the termination of this agreement;
iv. Any settlement reached or quantum ordered by the Tribunal (should Counsel not attend the quantum hearing);
f. promptly to communicate to the Client any advice given by Counsel:
i. to make, accept or reject any offer;
ii. to incur or not to incur expenditure in obtaining evidence or preparing the case;
iii. that the case is likely to be lost; and
iv. that the damages and costs recoverable on success make it unreasonable or uneconomic for the action to proceed;
g. promptly to inform Counsel’s clerk (and Counsel) of any listing for trial;
h. to deliver the brief not less than 2 weeks before the trial;
i. when drawing up a costs bill at any stage of the claim, to include in it a claim for interest on Counsel’s fees.
COMMENCEMENT OF AGREEMENT
18. By signing and today returning to Counsel the last page of this agreement by fax or e-mail with a recognisable and authorised signature (authority being confirmed on the e-mail), the Professional Client agrees to instruct Counsel under the terms of this agreement and undertakes to furnish Counsel within 14 days of today with hard copies of the signed agreement together with any documents under Paragraph 11 of this agreement which are not already in Counsel’s possession. Save for the operation of Paragraph 19 without such page Counsel is not instructed according to Code of Conduct.
19. Where there is:
a. An oral agreement between Counsel and the Professional Client to conduct the case on a CFA; and
b. The fees have been agreed; and
c. The written agreement is not signed and/or exchanged by either or both parties prior to the hearing in question (prior to the hearing);
This agreement is deemed to have been signed in the terms of this agreement prior to the hearing if Counsel appears for the lay client at the hearing.
TERMINATION OF THIS AGREEMENT BY COUNSEL
20. Counsel may terminate the agreement if:
a. Counsel discovers that the Professional Client is in breach of any of the obligations set out in Paragraph 15 hereof;
b. The Professional Client or the Client rejects Counsel’s advice in any respect set out in Paragraph 15 (7) hereof;
c. Counsel is informed or discovers the existence of any set-off or counterclaim which materially affects the likelihood of success and / or the amount of financial recovery in the event of success;
d. Counsel is informed or discovers the existence of information which has been falsified or knowingly withheld by the Professional Client or the Client, of which Counsel was not aware, and which Counsel could reasonably have anticipated, which materially affects the merits of any substantial issue in the case;
e. Counsel is required to cease to act by the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales, or Counsel’s professional conduct is being impugned, provided that Counsel may not terminate the agreement, if so to do would be a breach of that code and notice of any termination must be communicated promptly in writing to the Professional Client.
TERMINATION OF THIS AGREEMENT BY THE PROFESSIONAL CLIENT
21. The Professional Client may terminate the agreement at any time on the instructions of the Client.
AUTOMATIC TERMINATION OF THE AGREEMENT
22. This agreement shall automatically terminate if
a. Counsel retires from practice; or
b. the Professional Client’s agreement with the Client is terminated before the conclusion of the case; or
c. Legal Services Commission Funding is granted to the Client; and/or
d. the Client dies.
COUNSEL’S NORMAL FEES
23. Counsel’s fees upon which a success fee will be calculated (the normal fees) will be as follows:
a. Court appearances.
b. Brief Fee.
i. For a trial whose estimated duration is up to 2 days (including hours of preparation) £750.00;
ii. For a trial lasting between 3 and 5 days (including hours of preparation) £1,750.00;
iii. For a trial lasting between 5 and 8 days (including hours of preparation) £ 2,500.00;
iv. For a trial lasting between 8 and 10 days (including hours of preparation) £4,000.00;
v. And a trial lasting between 10 and 15 days (including hours of preparation) £6000.00;
vi. For a trial lasting more than 16 days shall be negotiable.
i. In accordance with Counsel’s daily rate obtaining for such work in this field, currently £ 500.00 per day.
24. Renegotiating Counsel’s Fees.
a. To the extent that the hours of preparation set out above are reasonably exceeded, then Counsel’s hourly rate will apply to each hour of additional preparation that hourly rate being £175/hr.
25. If the case is settled or goes short;
a. Counsel will consider the Professional Client’s reasonable request to reduce his brief fee set out above;
b. A settlement fee shall be payable where there is settlement prior to trial of not less than 2/3 of the brief fee.
COUNSEL’S SUCCESS FEE
26. The rate of Counsel’s success fee will be 50% of Counsel’s normal fees.
27. The reasons briefly stated for Counsel’s success fee are that, at the time of entry into this agreement:
a. the prospects of success are estimated by Counsel as (50%), as more fully set out in Counsel’s risk assessment/advice and a percentage increase of (50%) reflects those prospects.
b. the length of postponement of Counsel’s fees is estimated at …………………..year and a further increase of ………………….% applies to that postponement.
c. the reasons for Counsel’s success fee are more fully set out in Counsel’s risk assessment/advice which is not (please delete as appropriate) attached to this agreement.
COUNSEL’S ENTITLEMENT TO FEES - WINNING AND LOSING (IF THE AGREEMENT IS NOT TERMINATED)
28. Success means the same as win in the Conditional Fee Agreement/Contingency Fee Agreement between the Professional Client and the Client.
29. In the event of success, the Professional Client will pay Counsel the normal and success fees.
TRAVEL AND ACCOMODATION EXPENSES
30. If a hearing or conference takes place more than 20 miles from Counsel’s chambers the Professional Client shall pay Counsel’s travel expenses. In the event that Counsel is obliged to incur accommodation expenses, the Professional Client shall meet the cost of the accommodation so incurred by Counsel, which shall appear separately on Counsel’s fee note.
31. The Professional Client agrees to pay Counsel fees owed under this agreement within 30 days of Counsel’s feenote being received;
32. For the avoidance of doubt the obligation to pay on time and in full is on the Professional Client whether there is a delay due to the lay client, or the Respondent or the Court.
33. Where there is a delay in payment interest will be charged at the Judgement rate on Counsel’s fees.
34. Where there is a delay and the reasons for it are promptly notified to Counsel will consider the Professional Client’s reasonable request to structure payment over a period of time and/or to waive whole or part of the interest owed or owable.
ERRORS AND INDEMNITY FOR FEES
35. If, because of a breach by the Professional Client but not by Counsel of his duty to the Client, the Client’s claim is struck out:
a. for non-compliance with an Interlocutory Order; or
b. for failure to exercise reasonable skill, care, or judgement, in the prosecution of the Client’s claim, the Professional Client shall pay Counsel such normal fees as would have been recoverable under this agreement.
36. If, because of a breach by Counsel but not the Professional Client of his duty to the Client, the Client’s claim is dismissed or struck out:
a. for non-compliance with an Interlocutory Order; or
b. for failure to exercise reasonable skill, care, or judgement, in the prosecution of the Client’s claim:
Counsel shall pay the Professional Client such basic costs as would have been recoverable from the Client under the Professional Client’s Agreement with the Client.
37. No payment shall be made under subparagraph (1) and (2) in respect of any breach by the Professional Client or Counsel which would not give rise to a claim for damages if an action were brought by the Client.
38. The amount payable in respect of any claim under subparagraph (1) or (2) shall be limited to the total amount recoverable by the client in the action and not more than £25,000.00 in any event.
Counsel (or by his Clerk with Counsel’s prior written authority)
Solicitor (duly authorised) acting for the Client Principal / Employee (delete as appropriate)
NB: (see paragraph 18) By signing and today returning to Counsel the last page of this agreement by fax, the Professional Client agrees to instruct Counsel under the terms of this agreement and undertakes to furnish Counsel within 14 days of today with hard copies of the signed agreement together with any documents under Paragraph 11 of this agreement which are not already in Counsel’s possession.