Further confusion as conditional fee uplifts case about to be heard

Fresh uncertainty has arisen over lawyers' uplifts in conditional fee cases just days before the Law Lords are meant to establish guidelines on this crucial issue affecting thousands of lawyers

Thousands of cases are now waiting in the wings for a Court of Appeal judgment on a tiny RTA case that will establish whether or not lawyers, having been entitled to the usual uplift for winning a case, can then receive a separate uplift on so-called 'super satellite litigation'.
The RTA case, which began life before a Liverpool district judge but has now reached the second highest court in the land, was effectively settled after one party, represented by Peter Ralls QC, head of 29 Bedford Row Chambers, accepted liability.
However, lawyers for the other side, having been entitled to an uplift, applied for a summary assessment of costs and then sought an uplift for work done on that supplementary part of the litigation. Ralls said that thousands of similar uplift applications, particularly in Liverpool and Manchester, have entered the system.
This landmark case was referred to the Court of Appeal where the judge ruled it should be expedited until after the Lords rule in Callery v Gray, due to take place at the end of this month. The Lords will decide whether insurance premiums are recoverable and establish whether or not lawyers' success fees should be fixed at approximately 20 per cent.
Ralls said: “We argued the other side was entitled to not more than 5 per cent.
“My concern is that once the precedent has been set then it will have a significant effect on solicitors.”