The No win No fee legal rules in the UK are quite new and seldom fully understood by members of the public.
In 2000 legal aid for accident claims was abolished. Instead you could only pursue an action for compensation if you:
- Had the means to pay privately
- Had a Union to back you with legal cover, or
- Had a separate legal expenses insurance policy to back you in making the claim
There is now a fourth option which is to pursue your case with the benefit of a No win No fee agreement. This type of agreement is known as a "conditional fee agreement" or CFA.
The "contract" is offered to you by your solicitor if he or she is happy with your case. In other words happy that your case has merit and should proceed.
Your solicitor effectively takes a risk that they will win the case and if they fail to do so then they accept that they will not get paid any costs. The bonus for the client is that if they do in fact win the case - the majority of the legal fees will be paid for by the losing party.
It has to be said that the no win no fee concept has been criticised by many but the principles are sound and the intention is to provide access to justice - not to complicate the process by blocking a genuine accident victims route to making a claim. A good solicitor will explain clearly what is involved in making a claim of this type.