What does it mean??
“No win no fee” does not mean “no win no cost”. Thats a common mis-interpretation regarding the whole term and its important you are aware!
In short “no win no fee” is the commonly referred to term for a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). CFA’s came about in 1995 with the end of the legal aid system being available for Personal Injury cases. This stopped the process of having to apply for means tested access to legal help for personal injury claims and it is now at the discretion of your chosen solicitor whether they take your case on a CFA or “no win no fee” basis. CFA’s have leveled the playing field regarding access to the compensation legal system for all, rich and poor!
- No Win No Fee or a CFA is the agreement between a client and their solicitor.
- No win no fee is the conditional agreement that if the client does not win their case then the solicitor does not charge the client any fee.
- If you win your claim, your solicitor earns their fee and usually a success fee (bonus) from the opposing party, typically an insurance company. You should also keep the maximum amount of any accident compensation sum awarded to you!
- Also any other costs like private medical examination bills or court fee’s are also paid by the losing party.
- If you lose your case you may be liable for the opposing parties costs including but not limited to court fee’s and solicitors charges. Your solicitor should be able to arrange whats known as an “After Event” Insurance which will cover this risk for a premium to be paid by you or your solicitor. Make sure you ask about this but in any event your solicitor if acting in a proper fashion will make you aware of this too!
- An “After Event” Insurance policy covers your risk in losing your case.
However, like everyone else, solicitors have mortgages and bills to pay so dont like working for free and losing cases. If they are not confident they can win your case and get you the compensation you deserve then they will not usually take your case on a no win no fee basis and will advise you on this during your no obligations consultation.
Your specialist solicitor must provide you with certain pieces of information at different stages of a claim for a No Win No Fee* agreement to be valid.
For more guidance and information on no win no fee, check out the Law Society’s advice pages.
*There will be two scenarios where your solicitor may charge you for their costs:
1- if you have been found to be making a fraudulent claim
2- Non-cooperation by you, which jeopardises the outcome of your claim