§ Mr. Dismore
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to review the indemnity principle in the light of the court decision in the case of Geraghtyvs Awwad; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Lock
The issue in Geraghty and Co.vs Awad Awwad was whether an oral agreement between a solicitor and client to charge a reduced fee if the case was lost and the normal charging rate if the case was won, was enforceable. The Court held that the agreement (at the time at which it was made) was unlawful and in breach of the Solicitor's Practice Rules 1990. Geraghty vs Awwad considered the position as it stood in 1993. Since then amendments have been made to the legislation and to the Solicitor's Practice Rules and further amendments will come into force on 1 April 2000 as a result of the commencement of section 27 of the Access to Justice Act. After 1 April 2000 agreements to work for no, or a lesser, fee if unsuccessful and a normal or higher fee if successful will be enforceable, provided they comply with the regulations currently being drafted.
No consideration of the indemnity principle, relevant to the present position took place in Geraghty vs Awwad. The Government are conscious of the impact the indemnity principle can have on the recovery of costs, and had, prior to Geraghty vs Awwad, included a provision in the Access to Justice Act to amend section 51 of the Supreme Court Act 1991.