Solicitor liens

Published on
1 min read

Last year we reported on a first instance decision concerning a solicitor’s entitlement to a lien over settlement proceeds for their unpaid fees.

This decision has now been upheld by the Court of Appeal who agreed the solicitors concerned waived their lien when entering into a deed of charge containing rights inconsistent with the lien – in particular it created security over different assets and altered the priority. 

The Court of Appeal also remarked that a solicitor lien was more prone to being waived by conduct and there needed to be clear wording that any lien was being preserved in these circumstances. The agreements in fact said the opposite as they all provided that they superseded and replaced any previous agreements and there was nothing which would be read as preserving any pre-existing rights of security. 

That was costly here as the solicitors were no longer first in line. The decision is a reminder of both the potency of a solicitor lien but also how easy it is to waive.  

Candey Limited v Crumpler and Farmer (as joint liquidators of Peak Hotels & Resorts Limited) [2020] EWCA Civ 26

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