The formal name for a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement is a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 resulted in the vast majority of clinical negligence cases becoming ineligible for legal aid, leaving CFAs as the main method of funding.
How does it work?
As the name suggests, you do not normally pay your lawyer’s fees if your claim is unsuccessful. As long as you keep to the terms of the agreement, you are only obliged to pay your lawyer’s fees if your case is successful and you receive compensation.
What happens if you win?
If your claim is successful, your lawyer’s costs will usually include basic charges, disbursements and a success fee. Your lawyer’s basic charges are based on the amount of work done under their hourly rate. Disbursements are payments made to third parties, such as payments to your GP to obtain your medical records, the costs of obtaining medical reports to support your claim, as well as any court fees and barristers’ fees. The success fee is based on a percentage (up to 100%) of your basic charges, which is reflective of the risks in your case.
If a claim is successful, the majority of legal costs can be recovered from the other side. Changes to the law implemented on 1 April 2013 mean that the success fee can no longer be recovered from the losing party and it is payable from any compensation that is recovered. However, the success fee is capped by law at 25% of your compensation for pain and suffering and your past out-of-pocket expenses.
What happens if you lose?
Should your claim be unsuccessful, you would not recover any compensation and your lawyer would not be able to recover any basic charges or success fee. Any money that has already been spent on disbursements can be recovered from an insurance company; your solicitor will discuss the possibility of you either already having or taking out a policy of insurance to run alongside your CFA.
What we do
We will discuss your funding options with you at the outset of your case. If a CFA is the best method of funding for you, we will discuss this with you in detail. We keep you updated about costs on a regular basis, and aim to provide clear advice about the funding of your claim in plain English. Should you have any questions about the cost of bringing a claim for clinical negligence, please contact a member of our team today for an initial no cost, no obligation assessment of your case and the funding options.
Sumaya Ali, Trainee Solicitor