What does ‘no-win, no-fee’ actually mean?
‘No-win, no-fee’ arrangements – sometimes called Conditional Fee Arrangements (CFAs) – remove the risk from making a legal claim.
These arrangements are so-called because solicitors’ legal fees from the claimant are conditional upon success.
In this context, no-win, no-fee literally means that, if a legal claim is unsuccessful, the claimant will not have to pay their solicitor’s fees.
However, it is still possible that claimant will have to pay their own expenses such as court fees and also their opponent’s costs.
How did the ‘no-win, no-fee’ funding system come about?
In the mid-nineties, no-win, no-fee compensation claims were introduced in the UK to help people who could not afford legal representation gain access to justice.
In April 2013, the Government changed the way the system worked. Prior to that point, the party who lost a case would usually foot the bill for all the legal costs connected to the claim – meaning the claimant kept 100 per cent of the compensation awarded.
Currently, solicitors still offer a no-win, no-fee service. However, claimants are now expected to deduct a proportion from any compensation received to pay their solicitor’s fees.
Which cases do ‘no-win, no-fee’ arrangements apply to?
Not every solicitor offers a no-win, no-fee arrangement and not every legal matter qualifies for it either.
Cases that qualify for this funding structure are exclusively civil in nature, most often reserved for personal injury claims.
Typical no-win, no-fee cases include:
- vehicle accidents
- medical negligence
- slip-and-fall accidents
- workplace injuries and illnesses
- defective products.