ASSIGNMENT OF CONDITIONAL FEE AGREEMENTS: JENKINS FOLLOWED
the District Judge held that, following Jenkins v Young Brothers Transport Ltd  EWHC 151 (QB), where a solicitor moves firms, taking the client with her, any Conditional Fee Agreement can be lawfully assigned to the new firm and there is no need for a fresh CFA to be entered into.
The case involved an assignment from a law firm operating through the medium of a partnership to a law firm operating as a limited company, and thus the same solicitor was involved throughout and in the same organisation and using the same trading name.
There was then a second assignment to a separate and new law firm, albeit one controlled by the solicitor who had been dealing with the cases and who was setting up on his own.
The court held that in a Jenkins type case, where the client moved firms with the solicitor, no formal consent was required, but rather a lack of objection.
Formal consent would create a three-way agreement that could be considered a novation.
The formalities should only be between the two law firms, or the partnership and the limited company or LLP, or whatever.
An oral assignment is valid. There is no requirement that an assignment of a contract has to be in writing.
As a Conditional Fee Agreement is a contract for legal services, the client must be able to determine who her solicitors are.
Lack of express consent was not fatal to the validity of the assignment.
The client’s consent could be implied from her continuing to instruct the new solicitors.
In any event the evidence here was that the client did not wish to avoid the assignment.