No Win No Fee Law Explained
The costs of litigating are generally high, and lawyers are skilled experts who expect payment consistent with their experience and skill. For that reason, a no-win no fee payment structure is so attractive to clients who cannot fork out thousands of dollars to fight their cases.
If you intend on pursuing a no-win no, fee claim, you should be aware of how this fee structure works, any hidden costs, and other important related information.
What Does No Win No Fee Mean?
A no-win-no-fee costs agreement is one whereby a lawyer undertakes not to charge the client any fees for services rendered unless and at the point that the client wins the matter.
The lawyer accepts the risk that the case may be unsuccessful – and if this occurs, the lawyer forfeits any fees. The client undertakes to pay the lawyer if they win their matter (generally, but not always, costs can be recovered from the other side).
A few points to remember when hiring a no win no fee lawyer:
● In most cases when hiring a no win no fee lawyer, the law firm can recover their expenses (disbursements). This is money spent on the matter, including court filing expenses, expert report charges, and barristers’ fees.
● The provisions of the no-win, no-fee costs agreement should indicate whether disbursements are recoverable.
● A lawyer may be willing to bear the risk of not getting their fee, but it is doubtful they will carry the risk for the other side’s legal costs. Generally, if a case is unsuccessful, the losing party must settle the winning party’s legal costs, irrespective of whether or not that party has a no-win no, fee costs agreement with their lawyer.
No win, no fee arrangements are one kind of what the Legal Profession Act 2007 (the Act) deems ‘conditional costs agreements’. The Act explains that conditional costs agreements provide that the payment of a portion or the entire legal costs depends on the successful case (Refer to the Legal Profession Act section 323).
Is a Lawyer Required to enter a No Win Fee Costs Agreement?
There is no obligation on a law firm to act in a matter on a no-win, no, fee cost basis. Some law firms do not offer fee arrangements at all.
Smith’s Lawyers offers Queensland’s first risk-free compensation undertaking: No Win, No Fee, No Catch®. If settlement negotiations break down and your matter is unsuccessful in court, they will take care of all costs – so you won’t be liable to them or anyone else.
What Are You Entitled To Claim For?
When you are making a no-win no, fee claim, there are some things that you can be compensated for.
You might be entitled to claim for:
● Lost income
● Medical costs
● Rehabilitation charges
● Travel fees
● Service fees for going back to work
● Pain and suffering
● Possible loss of future earnings.
Getting legal advice about your anticipated legal fees and likely compensation is always a good idea, and this will ensure that you can manage your expectations.
No-win no, fee agreements are popular because they remove some of the stress from litigating, and you can rest assured you won’t have to pay your lawyer if your claim is unsuccessful. You should be aware of hidden fees. Consult your lawyer and ensure you understand their fee agreement before signing it.