Video: Negotiating and evidence of a legal retainer

In a case concerning solicitor’s liability and the nature of a retainer, Meridian Lawyers Principal Robert Crittenden discuss the recent decision of the New South Wales Supreme Court (Hoeben CJ at CL) in Richtoll Pty Ltd v WW Lawyers (in Liquidation) Pty Ltd [2016] NSWSC 438, with Dominic Priestley SC (Barrister).

Produced by BenchTV, the presenters are two of the most experienced practitioners involved in litigation concerning members of the legal profession. Their discussion on retainer is worth watching (48 minutes duration) – click here to view video.

The discussion includes:

  • the facts in Richtoll Pty Ltd v WW Lawyers (in Liquidation) Pty Ltd and the impact of this decision on solicitors liability and the retainer of solicitors;
  • the nature of the legal retainer; and
  • advice regarding negotiation of the terms of a retainer and evidence of it.

Postscript: The plaintiffs appealed the decision of Hoeben CJ.  The crux of the appeal was that his Honour erred in his findings concerning causation regarding the loan to Sanctuary. On 14 November 2016 the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, determining that there was no error in his Honour’s reasoning. One minor aspect of the case that remains arguably unsettled as a matter of law is whether a director of a company is prevented from giving evidence as to what the company would have done, had it received the non-negligent advice (arguably prohibited by section 5D(3)(b) of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW). Whilst nothing ultimately turned on the issue in this case, it is a point to keep in mind if an objection is made to a director or officer of a company giving that type of evidence. The Court of Appeal’s decision can be found here.

Contact Robert Crittenden for more information.


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