Solicitor liens

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 The agreements in fact said the opposite as they all provided that they superseded and replaced any previous agreements and there was nothing which would be read as preserving any pre-existing rights of security.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

Our content explained

Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

Mills & Reeve Sites navigation
A tabbed collection of Mills & Reeve sites.
My Mills & Reeve navigation
Subscribe to, or manage your My Mills & Reeve account.
My M&R


Register for My M&R to stay up-to-date with legal news and events, create brochures and bookmark pages.

Existing clients

Log in to your client extranet for free matter information, know-how and documents.


Mills & Reeve system for employees.