David Price Solicitors & Advocates has won what is believed to be the first successful libel case for a defendant using a conditional fee arrangement
David Price now plans to launch a scheme to offer all defendant clients in libel cases the chance to run the case on a no-win no-fee basis.
The firm won the case for Barbara Gardener, a woman who lived in a mansion block in Hampstead. She distributed a newsletter to the other residents of the block that implied the company that managed the property, Parkgate Aspen, was dishonest. The company brought a libel claim against Gardener, but the claim was struck out. David Price has now reached a settlement for Gardener and obtained a 75 per cent success fee.
David Price’s plan to offer no-win no-fee advice for all defendants in libel trials, including media clients, was received with some scepticism by defendant libel lawyers.
Charles Russell media partner Duncan Lamont said: “When you represent a claimant, the claimant only has to prove that they were libelled and that the libel related to them. With a defendant there is a lot more work for lawyers as you have to research all the facts surrounding the supposed libel. Claimants are also more likely to win. The chances of making this work financially are very slim.”