Administration of Justice Bulletin

Attorney Fee Provisions in North Carolina Contracts

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A key statutory exception to the rule against enforcing contractual attorney fee provisions is found in Section 6-21.2 of the North Carolina General Statutes, which allows enforcement of attorney fee provisions in notes, conditional sale contracts, and “other evidence of indebtedness” under certain circumstances. Since 1967, this statute has been the main statutory exception applicable to fee provisions in contracts and the subject of much case law. In June 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly added another major exception by creating G.S. 6-21.6, which authorizes courts to enforce reciprocal attorney fee provisions in business contracts. This bulletin discusses the law surrounding the existing statute and introduces new G.S. 6-21.6.

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