Hameed v Qayyum & Ors (2006)
Where the respondent entered into an agreement with the appellants to assist in matters of litigation between the appellants and another party, on a true interpretation of the agreement the respondent was entitled to the payment of a contingency fee on the payment of sums due to the appellants as a result of the litigation.
The appellants (Q) appealed against a judgment awarding sums due under an agreement made in favour of the respondent (H). Q, who were representatives of a campaign committee of former employees of BCCI, entered into an agreement with H, an international law consultant, to assist in matters of litigation that involved the liquidators of BCCI. The agreement contained a provision whereby H would be paid a fee contingent on sums received either by the campaign committee "or anyone on its behalf" from the litigation. Claims were settled and liquidators paid sums due to the employees into a trust fund run by independent trustees. H issued proceedings for the payment of the contingency fee. The judge held that part of the settlement was paid as a result of H's efforts and that the sum paid into the independent trust was money received by "anyone on its behalf". Q contended that the settlement sums paid to independent trustees were not sums received by the committee "or anyone on its behalf".
The trigger for interpretation of the phrase "or anyone on its behalf" was the judge's finding that it was always very likely that all judgment monies would be paid to independent trustees and not to the campaign committee, which would only be able to hold the money unofficially. The only way that the liquidators could pay the money in a way that would bind all the employees was to pay it into a trust fund. On a true analysis of the agreement, payment to trustees was a pre-condition. The judge was right to reach the conclusion that H was entitled to the contingency fee.
View all cases
19 Jan 2006
Court of Appeal
Chadwick LJ, Keene LJ, Sir Peter Gibson