No win, no fee agreements (or Conditional Fee Agreements as they are known by solicitors) were introduced by the government as part of a series of reforms in the late 1990's. They were brought in as a means to provide access to legal services for people who would otherwise be unable to afford to bring a claim. They arrived at the same time that the government was making serious reductions to the legal aid budget in order to reduce the burden on the state. Conditional Fee Agreeements allowed people who would have previously brought personal injury claims through legal aid to continue to be able to obtain access to justice.
A Conditional Fee Agreement means that in the event that your claim is lost you will not have to pay your solicitor anything for his services. If your case is won you will normally also not have to pay any of your compensation to your solicitor as the solicitor will be able to recover their fees from the Defendant (who is often insured). The solicitor will be compensated for taking the risk of your case being unsucessful and therefore receiving nothing by being able to recover a success fee on his costs. This success fee will be payable by the other side and therefore you will generally not have to worry about this.
Even though a no win, no fee agreement will protect you from paying your solicitors' fees in the event that you lose your claim it still might be prudent for you to have some type of legal expenses insurance in place. This is because if you lose your case you may still have to pay:
It is sometimes the case that you may already have insurance cover which covers you in respect of these legal expenses. Such insurance is often found within the small print of a home and contents insurance policy, a car insurance policy or a credit card insurance policy. Sometimes a person may be a member of a union and the union may be prepared to cover the costs of pursuing the claim. All solicitors should therefore explore whether you already have the benefit of such cover before they finalise a Conditional Fee Agreement.
If you do not have existing legal expenses insurance then it is possible that we might be able to obtain an insurance policy for you. This type of legal expenses insurance is known as an After The Event insurance policy. The premium of such insurance policies is often covered by the actual insurance so that it pays for itself if your case is lost and is recoverable as a disbursement in the event that your claim is successful.
Nobody wants to have to claim compensation. The need to seek damages always arises from difficult circumstances. You want to know where you stand.