No win no fee (also known as a conditional fee agreement) is an agreement between you and your solicitor which means you won’t have to pay their fee if you don’t win your case. This removes the financial risk from claiming and means you won’t be left with a bill you can’t afford.
Another benefit of no win no fee is that you don’t need to pay any costs upfront – once your solicitor takes on your case, you’ll only need to pay them if you win compensation.
Everyone has the right to compensation after an accident which wasn’t their fault, and no win no fee makes this possible for most personal injury and medical negligence cases, regardless of your financial situation.
For more information, and to find out whether you could make a claim, you can speak to an expert legal adviser on 0800 234 6438. If you decide to go ahead with your claim, they’ll be able to put you in touch with a solicitor who can take you through the next steps.
If your claim is successful, then you’ll receive compensation and can spend it however you choose.
You’ll need to pay your solicitor’s success fee as a percentage of your compensation – but this will usually be a small portion of your claim. The exact amount varies depending on how complex your case is, but in most cases it will be up to 25% of the money you receive. You will have discussed and agreed the amount with your solicitor before starting your case so you know what you will have to pay.
Your injury solicitor needs to agree to take on your case on a no win no fee basis, and ATE insurance will usually need to be in place before they do so to ensure claiming is risk free. Also be aware that termination fees may apply based on time spent on your claim, or if your case does not proceed because you do not cooperate fully with your solicitor by, for example, deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend a court hearing, or not going to a medical/expert examination.
The main priority is to make sure you get the money you need for your recovery, so you don’t need to worry about all your compensation being taken up by legal fees and solicitors’ costs.
As well as making your claim on a no win no fee basis, your solicitor will arrange After the Event (ATE) insurance for you. ATE insurance covers your legal fees if you lose your claim. It also covers other costs and expenses paid out on your behalf including expert reports, barristers’ fees and court fees.
If you lose your case, you’ll usually need to pay at least a proportion of the other party’s legal costs. However, your ATE insurance also covers this for you, so it adds another layer of financial protection.
Some cases are abandoned part way through a claim; for instance, it may become apparent following expert evidence that the chances of you winning your claim are far lower than first thought. But don’t worry, ATE insurance will also cover the legal fees and costs already incurred.
You’ll only need to pay for your ATE insurance premium if your claim is successful, and this will make up part of your solicitor’s fee.
After suffering from an injury which wasn’t your fault, you deserve a high standard of legal representation so that you have the best possible chance of getting the compensation you need.
Our partners work with a panel of high-quality solicitor firms who have a wide range of experience, dealing with many different injury types. They set the standards high – so you can be sure you’re in safe hands.
These solicitors will be able to handle most of the claim on your behalf, leaving you with the time to concentrate on other things. But they’ll keep you up-to-date with any progress and will be on-hand to give you help and advice if you need it.
There are no hidden fees, and most injury solicitors can usually help you make your claim on a no win no fee basis. There are some rare exceptions to this, but if this applies to your case, they’ll let you know before starting your claim and will talk you through the other options available.
To find out whether you could make a no win no fee claim, you can speak to a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438, or enter your name and phone number in to one of the contact forms on this page and they’ll call you back.
Generally, it’s likely you could claim if your accident happened in the last three years and was somebody else’s fault. But we know it can sometimes be difficult for you to tell who’s responsible for your injury, so we recommend getting in touch with a legal adviser for assistance.
When you speak to an adviser, they’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about no win no fee and the claims process but they’ll never push you into taking the next steps if you don’t feel ready.
Some people have no other funding options to help them make a compensation claim, which is why most injury solicitors take claims on a no win no fee basis. If you do have other funding options but there’s a shortfall, you may be able to use no win no fee to make up that shortfall.
For example, if you check your household insurance policy you may find it includes legal expenses insurance which will cover some or all of a personal injury claim, or you may have trade union funding.
However, sometimes there’s a shortfall in the amount you’ll be covered for, so it’s worth double checking how much is available.
Your solicitor will be able to explain whether ATE insurance should be taken out to protect you against any possible financial risk. They can usually do this on your behalf.
If you’re a trade union member, check the terms to see whether trade union insurance cover is included for personal injury claims and on what terms. Again, your solicitor can talk you through whether this provides enough cover and, if not, what your options are.
Legal aid hasn’t been available for personal injury claims since the year 2000 – instead, it was replaced by no win no fee.
Legal aid is funding from the government which helps people to pay for legal costs so that they can get a fair hearing. Although this is no longer possible for personal injury cases, it can be used for other legal cases such as medical negligence involving children.
In order to be able to receive legal aid, you have to prove that you can’t afford to pay for legal representation on your own.
Normally, you have to start your claim within three years of the date of the accident, or of the time you knew your injury or condition was caused by someone’s negligence.
In the case of children and those who are mentally incapacitated, the three-year period runs from when the child reaches 18 years old, or when the injured person has regained their mental capacity.
In practice, we advise you to start the claims process as soon as possible to minimise any risk of having your claim time-barred. Starting it now also means the events are fresh in your mind and it should be easier to prove your claim. Your no win no fee solicitor will clearly explain the process to you so you know what to expect.
Yas, you can. In some cases, the injured person is unable to make a compensation claim because they’re too young; or they might be so seriously injured that they’re mentally incapable of giving instructions and understanding what’s happening.
In these cases, the next of kin or another close relative can make a claim on their behalf. No win no fee is available in the exactly the same way as any other injury claim.
Your solicitor can talk you through the process of claiming on somebody’s behalf, but in some cases, they’ll need the injured person’s consent to start the process.
The proper term for no win no fee is ‘conditional fee agreement’. It was first introduced as part of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, but didn’t start to be used until 1995.
By taking away the financial risks and upfront costs of making a claim, no win no fee was created to make compensation accessible to as many people as possible, so that they could get the support they need.
As part of The Jackson Report in 2013, some changes were made to no win no fee. Despite evidence showing that there had been a reduction in the number of compensation claims over the past ten years, there was a growing belief that a ‘compensation culture’ existed in the UK. Because of this, the government decided to review how no win no fee works.
Before then, legal fees were paid by the other side, which meant that you would keep all the compensation you received. This changed in 2013, so now you need to pay a success fee to cover your solicitor’s costs – but this fee is capped at 25% of your compensation.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and former solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years’ experience writing about the law.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and former solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.