New guidance on Law Society Style Success Fee Agreement
The Law Society of Scotland has published new guidance on its Style Success Fee Agreement (SSFA).
The new guidance, which comes into effect on 1 May, supports the Law Society’s SSFA and has been developed to help Scottish solicitors who are intending to enter an agreement either by way of a speculative fee agreement or damages-based agreement with their clients.
The new guidance and Law Society SSFA follow the introduction of regulations on success fees in 2020 which aim to provide consumer protection in terms of what such an agreement between solicitor and client must include for it to be valid. They also help to ensure that litigants in Scotland have a clearer understanding about the costs involved in raising a Court action and providing Scottish solicitors with more attractive methods to enter into success fee agreements.
The new guidance highlights factors a solicitor needs to consider when advising their client, to ensure that the client is fully informed and understands the nature of the agreement which they are entering into, the associated risks and the obligations of both the solicitor and client.
The society’s Success Fee Agreement Working Party designed the SSFA for personal injury cases to support the profession in complying with the 2020 regulations. The society’s SSFA which solicitors can also adapt for use in other areas of law has an accompanying explanatory note and a cooling off notice. Solicitors must issue a success fee agreement together with the cooling off notice to their client.
David Gordon, convener of the Law Society of Scotland Regulatory Committee, said: “This new guidance will be helpful for practitioners and ensure that they can be confident in using the Law Society Style Success Fee Agreement and in providing clarity for their clients when they undertake personal injury or indeed other types of work, where fees will be charged under the SSFA.
“The guidance and SSFA have been developed by practitioners who have a deep knowledge of these types of feeing arrangements, providing clarity for both the solicitor and their client and ensure both are aware of their rights and obligations when entering an agreement of this nature.”