I act for a client who has made no payment on account of costs. Can I terminate the retainer?

I act for a client in a contentious matter. The client has made no payment on account despite several requests to do so. Our terms of business state that when requested a client must make a payment on account of costs. Can I terminate the retainer? 

It is common to request payments on account of costs in contentious matters.

Section 65(2) of the Solicitors Act 1974 provides that when a solicitor requests the client to make a payment of a reasonable sum on account of the costs incurred or to be incurred, and the client refuses or fails within a reasonable time to make that payment, then the solicitor may terminate the retainer upon giving reasonable notice.

You should advise your client accordingly.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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