A City firm has secured the extension of a limited freezing order against a former client over a £468,000 claim for unpaid fees.
In Cardium Law Ltd v Kew Holdings Ltd Mr Justice Trower ruled that an order made in December, following an application by Cardium Law, should not be discharged after it was established there was still a ‘real risk’ that key assets could be dissipated.
Kew is a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands whole sole asset is an interest in a UK property. The December order restrained the company from disposing or, dealing with or diminishing the value of the property, and from removing the proceeds from any sale up to the value of £525,000.
Cardium claims against Kew over a hybrid conditional fee agreement for acting in a professional negligence litigation against an architect. The court gave summary judgment against Kew in 2019, and the architects then commenced proceedings for the sale of the property.
The CFA included a provision enabling Cardium to terminate the retainer if Kew defaulted in paying disbursements. In that event, the deferred charges and success fee would be payable.
Kew says that the provisions of the CFA were unfair and not properly explained to its controlling director, who did not receive a copy of the agreement. This is disputed by Cardium, which said the director is an experienced businessman who signed the CFA after having its terms explained.
Kew paid some but not all of the interim invoices rendered by Cardium, but has paid nothing since March 2020 – though the firm continued to act until November.