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  • After looking at the possessory lien in the July LSJ, we now turn to an exploration of the equitable lien.
  • Equitable liens are a practically useful device to secure the payment of solicitors’ fees.
  • They are, in essence, a right to approach the Court for intervention where having obtained a judgment, the solicitor is at risk of a probability of the client depriving him or her of costs.

In the July edition of LSJ we looked at possessory liens. In this article we look at the equitable (sometimes called ‘fruits of the action) lien. The latter has often been said by the courts not to be a lien at all but something more in the nature of an equitable charge. Nevertheless the name has stuck, though the point underlying the observation is important and helps to explain its characteristics. The intent of this update is to focus on the equitable lien available to the solicitor with reference to the principal decision in the area, being Firth v Centrelink (formerly known as the Department of Social Security) & Anor (2002) 55 NSWLR 451; [2002] NSWSC 564 (‘Firth’) and some older authorities on the topic.

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