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Many of you will have already have seen advertisements for ‘no win no fee’, but what does this actually mean? In recent surveys it is clear that the public are wary of the term and feel that if they enter into a ‘no win no fee’ agreement that they will still be bound to pay some costs. The name itself implies that if you do not win you do not have to pay, but if you win your case you might be expected to pay some or all of the legal costs. Is this right?
In short, the answer is that you should not have to pay any costs whether you win or lose your claim under a ‘no win no fee’ agreement. It is worth looking at the history of no win no fee agreements to explain why this is the case and to put your mind at rest.
In the past, if you wanted to make an accident claim for compensation you would have been entitled to apply for Legal Aid. This would have covered your solicitor’s legal costs to pursue this claim. However, the government decided to cut the costs of Legal Aid and removed accident claims as an area of law for which they would not provide Legal Aid. When this happened, they needed to set up a system which would still allow innocent and injured accident claim victims to make claims for compensation.
They produced a document called the ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’ which is the legal documentation under which you can pursue a claim on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. The agreement largely provides that a solicitor will act for you and not charge you any of their legal fees as they are progressing the claim. It states that if you lose your case, once again, you will not have to pay any legal fees. The agreement does provide that if you win your case you are responsible for legal fees, BUT, the important part is that if you win your case your solicitor is entitled to recover the costs of legal representation from the other side (usually the insurance company). Therefore, at the end of a successful claim you will receive a cheque for your compensation and your solicitor will receive a cheque from the insurance company for their legal costs and charges, in addition to, and completely separate from, your compensation payment.
Therefore, you really can proceed safely under a ‘no win no fee' agreement knowing that you will keep your compensation if you win your claim and you will pay nothing if you lose your claim.Need help under a no win no fee agreement now?
For more information see our Compensation Claim Costs section.
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