“No win, no fee” is simply a phrase that is used to describe the core feature of a solicitor-client agreement called a ‘conditional fee agreement’. Conditional fee agreements were introduced into courts in England and Wales in 1995, through the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.
They were introduced to level the legal playing field for everybody, so that everybody could get access to justice. Prior to this, if a person wanted to bring a claim forward, they would have to pay high legal fees, with no protection whatsoever if their claim should be unsuccessful.
What is the concept of no win, no fee?
Under a conditional fee agreement, the claimant should have none of their own lawyer’s legal fees to pay should their claim be unsuccessful. The claimant should also be able to bring their claim forward without having to pay any legal fees upfront. You can click here to find out more about how no win, no fee agreements work.
A lawyer will only be paid if their case is successful. Depending on the terms of the agreement, a lawyer can be paid in one of two ways: They can either take a percentage of the compensation awarded to their client as payment, or they can recover their costs from the other side. If the former option is chosen, then by law, the lawyer can take a maximum of 25 per cent of the claim’s total value, although some lawyers take less. If the latter option is chosen, then the claimant will get to keep 100 per cent of their compensation.
Do all lawyers work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis?
In cases of personal injury law and accident law, yes, they do. Conditional fee agreements are the default way to process accident claims. It is simply not marketable to process a claim in any other way, since ‘no win, no fee’ offers a variety of useful features, and not everybody can afford to pay legal fees upfront for their personal injury or accident claim.
What happens if a no win, no fee claim loses?
If a lawyer loses their client’s case, they cannot bill their client for their legal fees. However, the claimant can still be billed by the other side, since a conditional fee agreement is an agreement between the claimant and the claimant’s solicitor only. This is the only risk that is associated with a ‘no win, no fee’ claim. However, it is rare for the claimant to have to pay legal fees for an unsuccessful but legitimate claim, since most conditional fee agreements have a dedicated ‘after the event’ insurance policy in place to protect the claimant.