Insurance litigation expert says Naomi Campbell case is 'powerful amunition' in abolishing conditional fee arrangements

The European Court of Human Right’s decision in the Campbell v MGN case could pave the way for the end of the current Conditional Fee Arrangements (CFA), says an insurance litigation expert.

Horwich Farrelly chief executive, Anthony Hughes, said: “Although this case is purely focused on media law, we are interested to see what the implication is for CFAs in general.

“This decision is very powerful ammunition particularly for the proponents of the Jackson reforms and the Coalition Government will undoubtedly use this decision to further its argument about abolishing recoverability in other areas, specifically personal injury.”

Hughes is the second legal expert to believe the case could spell the end of CFAs. Highly-respected legal author on civil costs, Dr Mark Friston, said insurers could immediately use the case to argue for a big reduction in success fees, extending it to personal injury cases.

As reported by Insurance Times yesterday, the case itself centered on a breach of privacy by the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) in relation to articles it published about Naomi Campbell’s drug addiction therapy.

However, the newspaper group’s challenge to recoverable success fees was upheld by the court.

MGN complained that it was obliged to pay unreasonably high court legal costs because of a “conditional fee arrangement” and, the “success fee” for which domestic law allowed.

The court focussed on the success fee which was recovered by Campbell’s lawyers and accepted that such success fees were an interference with the Article 10 rights of the applicant.

For more, read our subscriber exclusive: Naomi Campbell case deals blow to CFAs.