I still receive requests from solicitors to render advice and assistance in connection with problems encountered over contentious and non-contentious business agreements
The main difference between a solicitor relying on a contentious and a non-contentious business agreement is that he must obtain permission of the Court to enforce the former.
Where the client’s liability is disputed and the solicitor wishes to rely on a contentious business agreement he must apply for leave to enforce it. The agreement itself does not give a cause of action and if the need does arise to seek permission to rely on a contentious business agreement a Part 8 application should be made.
Under section 59 of the Solicitors Act 1974, a contentious business agreement must not give the solicitor any interest in the proceedings, i.e. it must not be champertous or on a contingency basis. It may however contain a conditional fee agreement stipulating for payment only in the event of success (with or without a success fee uplift) provided it complies with the existing rules and regulations relating to conditional fee agreements of which we all by now are well aware.
The effect of a contentious business agreement is to preclude a Solicitors Act assessment of the costs between solicitor and client except in respect of agreements by reference to hourly rates when the same provisions apply as for non-contentious business agreements.
To read the rest of Jim’s useful guide including contentious and non contentious costs just click the link below.