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- What does 'no-win, no-fee' mean?
What does 'no-win, no-fee' mean?
What does 'no-win, no-fee' actually mean?
'No-win, no-fee' arrangements - sometimes called Conditional Fee Arrangements (CFAs) - remove the risk from making a legal claim.
These arrangements are so-called because solicitors' legal fees from the claimant are conditional upon success.
In this context, no-win, no-fee literally means that, if a legal claim is unsuccessful, the claimant will not have to pay their solicitor’s fees.
However, it is still possible that claimant will have to pay their own expenses such as court fees and also their opponent’s costs.
How did the 'no-win, no-fee' funding system come about?
In the mid-nineties, no-win, no-fee compensation claims were introduced in the UK to help people who could not afford legal representation gain access to justice.
In April 2013, the Government changed the way the system worked. Prior to that point, the party who lost a case would usually foot the bill for all the legal costs connected to the claim - meaning the claimant kept 100 per cent of the compensation awarded.
Currently, solicitors still offer a no-win, no-fee service. However, claimants are now expected to deduct a proportion from any compensation received to pay their solicitor’s fees.
Which cases do 'no-win, no-fee' arrangements apply to?
Not every solicitor offers a no-win, no-fee arrangement and not every legal matter qualifies for it either.
Cases that qualify for this funding structure are exclusively civil in nature, most often reserved for personal injury claims.
Typical no-win, no-fee cases include:
- vehicle accidents
- medical negligence
- slip-and-fall accidents
- workplace injuries and illnesses
- defective products.
In some cases, your solicitor may be prepared to pursue your legal claim on a 'no win, no fee' basis. This means that the solicitor (or her law firm) will take the risk that your claim fails. Ordinarily, though, the solicitor will want a 'success fee' or 'uplift' as compensation for taking this risk.
Generally, in fast track and multi track cases the courts' approach is that 'costs follow the event', which means that if you win your case you are entitled to recover your litigationcosts from the losing party.
Apart from family or criminal matters, many types of claim are suitable for Conditional Fee Agreements, more commonly known as 'no win, no fee agreements'. This article sets out the pros and cons of using such agreements.
The costs of bringing legal action, particularly in relation to civil claims, are unfortunately for a lot of people extremely high. Despite the introduction of the civil procedural rules to, amongst other things, deal with this issue, the average man or woman is still extremely unlikely to be able to afford to bring a civil litigation claim in the UK without financial assistance. If you are considering a claim and decide to visit a solicitor for legal advice, the solicitor should also discuss with you options for funding the case.
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Whether you are already involved in a lawsuit, or just considering getting help with a legal issue, you may have questions about working with a solicitor. Click through to find practical tips on choosing, meeting with, and hiring a solicitor - including information on fee agreements and expenses.see our hiring a solicitor guide
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