Legal aid for personal injury cases was abolished in England and Wales in 1995 and replaced by no win no fee* agreements. Since this has been introduced it has helped many people make successful personal injury claims without the financial risks. By claiming on a no win no fee basis there are no upfront costs, and in the unlikely event that your claim is unsuccessful, there will be absolutely no cost to you.
Cases are taken on according to their merit, so a person wishing to pursue a claim that, in the professional opinion of a qualified solicitor, looks to have a reasonable chance of success based on the facts, a no win no fee lawyer is likely to take on the case. The claimant will be advised that the claim is not worth pursuing if after consideration of all the facts, the case is believed to have a very low chance of being successful. This works to prevent the courts becoming clogged with frivolous claims that are not in the interests of justice. Here’s how it works.
No Win No Fee is the term commonly used for a Conditional Fee Agreement. The basic premise of a conditional fee arrangement is that if the case is successful the claimant is entitled to keep the maximum amount of their compensation as well as being reimbursed for other costs incurred as a result of the injury, such as medical bills.
In the unlikely event that the claim is unsuccessful the claimant will not be liable for any of the costs. This is made possible by an insurance premium, known as ‘after the event’ insurance, which your solicitor can take to cover the costs and expenses of the other party, and the fees and expenses of your solicitor too. This prevents the claimant from being financially damaged by an unsuccessful claim.
No Win No Fee solicitors are experienced enough in this area to be able to ascertain the likelihood of success based on the facts of a case. As it is not in their interests to pursue a case that is unlikely to succeed, clients can rest assured that they will not be encouraged to pursue a case that will leave them financially exposed. The system works not only to improve access to justice, but to keep the court system free from unnecessary cases that have the effect of slowing down justice for the more deserving.
*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