No Win / No Fee Benefits Clients not Lawyers
Law firms offering “No Win / No Fee” agreements are often met with scepticism. However, such arrangements are provided for the benefit of those seeking legal advice – and not the lawyers.
The fact is that law firms agree to work on a “No Win / No Fee” basis to allow people with limited resources to access justice. It enables people to seek proper legal advice without the need to pay for an assessment of whether their case is worthwhile pursuing.
Essentially, the risk of a case being unsuccessful is transferred from the customer to the lawyer.
One of the most common misconceptions in Compensation Law is that “a lawyer will not take on my case unless they know I will win”.
Usually, a lawyer will provide initial legal advice regardless of whether a case will be successful. In fact, this advice is important to determine whether the case is worth investigating further.
After you are properly informed of all of your rights and any time limits that apply to your case, investigations will need to take place to determine the “viability” of your case. This means that a lawyer will consider whether the costs of pursuing your case will be worthwhile (when compared to the likely outcome). Obviously, if it looks like the costs will be higher than the amount of compensation you are likely to receive, then you will be advised that you should think long and hard before continuing further.
If you decide not to continue, then in most cases you will not be charged for the legal advice provided.
If the case continues and you obtain a settlement or resolution, the legal costs will come out of that amount and you will receive the remaining money.
Lawyers entering into a “No Win / No Fee” agreement are obliged to provide clients with a document fully explaining their costs. That document will estimate total costs and will explain whether any disbursements (such as report fees) will need to be paid if the case is not successful.
This document is designed to openly detail the specifics of the agreement and is not designed to trick you. If you have questions, you should ask your lawyer, or seek independent advice, before signing it.
Lawyers have an obligation to provide you with advice which is accurate and make recommendations which have your best interests at heart. A “No Win / No Fee” agreement has no negative bearing on those obligations.