UK: Court blocks firm being substituted into claim of dead client

The High Court has refused an application from a London firm to be substituted for their deceased client in a £1.5m litigation claim.

Mr Justice Marcus Smith ruled in Farrar & Anor v Miller that an assignment signed by Peter Farrar to his solicitors Candey Limited had transferred nothing to the firm and had no effect.

The judge said the written assignment was champertous, so the application failed and Candey could not replace Farrar as claimant in proceedings, because the cause of action remained vested in him.

The court heard that Farrar had commenced proceedings against the defendant David Miller in 2014 but died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2019, before the case had come to trial.

The firm had signed a damages based agreement with Farrar and later amended it to a conditional fee arrangement, but this was terminated with immediate effect by the assignment. At the time of the assignment, Candey had incurred £135,000 costs through its standard hourly rates, and Farrar also had liabilities of more than £450,000 through various judgments.

Read more at the UK Law Society Gazette…