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No Win No Fee Explained
A No Win No Fee refers to legal services provided by way of an arrangement that generally means you won’t be expected to pay legal fees unless you win your case. It allows normal members of the public to bring a medical negligence claim without having to fund the costs out of their own pockets up front.
No Win No Fee arrangements are generally made available by solicitors offering clients a Conditional Fee Arrangement or CFA.
Conditional fee agreements (CFAs)
With a CFA if your case loses, you will not pay your solicitor anything.
If your case is successful, you will need to pay your legal costs for representation. These vary depending on which firm you use. However, these costs are generally recovered from the losing party, or defendant and your solicitor manages this process for you.
You may also be required to pay a Success Fee to your chosen law firm. This is a percentage-based fee that comes out of your compensation if you win the case. This amount will be agreed by you and your solicitors at the start of your claim but is no more than 25% of your total compensation.
The level of the success charged will be between 0 – 25% and is assessed by panel law firms on a case by case basis. When choosing the level of the success fee being charged each panel law firm will have an individual assessment criteria but generally the case will be assessed on:
– The prospects of the matter and level of risk for the firm bringing the case
– The cost associated with bringing the case
– The likely level of damages
– The timescale for the case to resolve
Will I Ever Have to Pay Anything?
In addition to the success fee set out above, in the event that you terminates the agreement with the panel law firm other than during the cancellation period then the firm may charge a termination fee. You should discuss this carefully with your solicitor so your fully understand your rights and
obligations under your CFA.
Are there any other options instead of No Win No Fee?
If you do not want to enter into a No Win No Fee style arrangement with your solicitor, some other options to fund the cost of your case may be:
- Legal expenses insurance: You may have this included with a home or car insurance policy. There is generally a limitation on the types of claim you can bring, but it may be worth speaking to your insurer for further details.
- Private payment: You always have the option to fund your claim yourself by paying your chosen solicitor at an agreed rate. However, there may also be other costs called disbursements (court fees, experts fees, counsel fees etc) which would also need to be paid.
- Public funding: Legal Aid is available in very limited circumstance in medical negligence claims. Each case is unique and we suggest speaking to the Legal Aid Agency for further information.
What is ATE Insurance and Do I Need It?
After The Event Insurance is a product your solicitor may advise you to take out alongside your CFA. It provides an insurance policy to cover any potential costs in the event your case is unsuccessful. Generally, ATE is designed to cover the costs of disbursements incurred (medical records, expert
fees, barristers fees etc) and/or and potential adverse legal costs orders made for you to pay the defendant’s legal costs. If you have ATE in place, such costs can be covered by the insurance policy.
In Medical Negligence Claims, generally a claimant who is unsuccessful does not have to pay the Defendant’s legal costs due to a rule called Qualified One Way Costs Shifting, which has made ATE insurance less of a necessity. However, it is a product that should always be considered and discussed further with your solicitor. The costs of ATE Insurance Policies vary from case to case, but the costs are generally paid at the end of a successful claim, meaning there is no up font costs to you. Also, if you lose your case, generally, ATE policies are “self-insured” are there is no cost to you.