No fee no win* is simply another way of saying no win no fee*.
Either way, it matters, because a claimant must take special care in assessing the costs of pursuing a personal injury claim from April, when changes to the law in the UK kick in.
No fee no win* is another name for Conditional Fee Arrangement. CFA has been good for society in that it made justice accessible to claimants who would have had to depend on legal aid (which CFA largely replaced). In practice, what CFA does is to take the burden of legal costs away from the taxpayer/government and place it firmly in the hands of the lawyers. No fee no win* meant that the losing side would largely pick up the bill for the legal fees and other costs of the winning side. Of course, the awarding of costs is always discretionary and no claimant should ever go to court assuming they will automatically win costs.
The “success fee” is an important supplement to the no fee no win* process, in that it is a fee the winning side can charge on top of the legal fees and again, the losing side would pay it, so for example, in awards paid out for car accidents, the insurance company picks up the tab.
From April, the winning side will be required to contribute 25% of the success fee, meaning that, in effect they are giving a 25% discount to “the other side”. This change is much debate, since, although the “success fee” sounds like a gravy train, in practice it goes into a fund which meets the same solicitor’s costs for the cases which he loses. If you think about it, it is important because a solicitor who has some rainy day money is more likely to take on a case for someone who deserves justice but who might have various disadvantages in trying to make a claim.
Either way, before you start a claim, make sure you fully understand all the cost implications for both a winning and a losing outcome.
Date Published: March 12, 2013
Author: David Brown