12.5.10

Sponsored blog post: No-win no-fee cases

Personal injury claims receive plenty of media coverage nowadays, notably in the form of television advertisements. As such, it is arguably the case that the public is now more aware than ever as to the legal rights pertaining to negligence law. The pursuit of personal injury claims has been rendered more cost-effective after the introduction of the so-called no win no fee service, which is officially known as the conditional fee arrangement (CFA). The CFA has improved the general public's access to justice by de-risking the process in the context of potential costs when bringing compensation claims before the courts.

The CFA has provided greater financial certainty to those who wish to pursue claims for compensation than had been offered under the old legal system. Where compensation claims are won, CFA solicitors (injury lawyers) would normally recover their costs from the losing parties. In fact, even where cases are lost, claimants are not usually required to pay the costs of their legal advisors under no win no fee arrangements. The CFA does not, however, enable the claimant to avoid all costs.Therefore, most solicitors will take out ATE (after-the-event) policies on their clients' behalf. ATE insurance provides cover in the event that a case is lost, covering the costs of the winning party, which may include court fees and medical expenses.

CFA solicitors will usually only take cases that are likely to succeed, which is of benefit to prospective clients. Claims that have little merit are not worth taking under the CFA, whereas those that have a good chance of succeeding are worth the risk. If a case has been turned down by a no win no fee solicitor, it does not mean that it is guaranteed to fail but the chances of success are not held to be strong. In such cases, the client would be unlikely to benefit from pursuing the claim through alternative funding mechanisms.

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