No win no fee agreements (aka conditional fee agreements)
A no win no fee agreement is a contract between you and the solicitor. The solicitor takes on the case accepting that if the case is lost or abandoned on the solicitor's advice or initiative then the solicitor does not get paid. The client by signing the agreement promises not to mislead the client about what caused the accident and its effects. Further the client promises to co-operate with the solicitor and let him finish the case.
The above is common to all such agreements. The other terms can vary from firm to firm. The major differences revolve about the following:-
Who pays the disbursements?
Disbursements are the bills that are raised by other than the solicitors that are necessary to prove your case. These include medical reports, other experts' reports, court fees, police reports, medical records and many others. Sometimes solicitors insist the clients pay the disbursements others do not and bear the costs themselves
Do the solicitors charge the client if the case is won and if so how much?
Before 2013 all solicitors offered prospective clients no win no fee agreements with a guarantee that if the case won the client the client would receive 100% of the damages. That guarantee of 100% of damages has largely gone, although according to the internet a few solicitors still offer it. The reason for the change is the government changed the rules about no win no fee agreements. Before these changes the insurance companies for the persons who caused the accidents paid all the victims' legal costs including the "success fees". Since the changes the insurance companies only contribute towards the victims 's legal bills, in other words, not the full costs. The government left it to the legal market as to whether the solicitors took the hit on costs themselves or passed it onto the clients. An example of the reduction in fees paid is the reduction in costs paid by the insurance companies in simple road traffic accidents. The old amount paid was approximately £1400 now it is £500.
Do the solicitors insist the clients take out and pay for insurance should the case be lost?
Some solicitors insist clients take out insurance should the case be lost or if the clients fails to beat a formal offer to settle made by the other side. The premium is paid out of the compensation.
How much will be deducted?
If the solicitor takes part of your damages how much will the deduction be. The law forbids the solicitors from deducting more than 25% of the amount paid for general damages and past special damages. They are not allowed to deduct anything from future special damages. If they have persuaded you to take out insurance the premium for the insurance will bed deducted as well.
If you have existing legal expense insurance it may provide a solicitor who will act without making deductions. Some insurance companies do others do not. The only way of finding out is to act the insurance company should you wish to investigate this avenue of funding the claim.
COOKS SOLICITORS NO WIN NO FEE AGREEMENTS
As we take on difficult cases as well as easy cases we have to charge our clients a fee if the case is won. We can tell you the maximum we will charge which is 25% of your claim. However 25% might not be deducted In every case, it might be less. How much is deducted depend whether the case settles easily or fought hard, how big the damages are and how risky the case is, We don’t ask for money up front to pay the disbursements