“No win, no fee” is a phrase familiar to most of us and I deal with many enquiries where people want to instruct me on this basis. However, it is much less well known that “no win, no fee” arrangements are not permitted in this jurisdiction
It is important that people are able to obtain legal advice and access to justice. Litigation can be expensive – aside from your solicitor’s fee you may need to factor in the additional essential costs such as expert reports, instructing a barrister and court fees. So in the absence of “no win, no fee” agreements, what options are there to fund a case?
• Self-funding – the client pays for the costs of their case directly to their solicitor. If successful a self-funding Plaintiff can usually recover their costs from the Defendant.
• Legal Expenses Insurance – many of us have access to legal expenses insurance under other policies of insurance (home, motor for example) or through packaged bank accounts or under the terms of a credit card agreement. Coverage will vary in terms of the policy but it’s always worth looking in to. If you have such a policy your solicitor can liaise with the provider to establish the level of cover you are entitled to.
• Legal Aid – You can still obtain Legal Aid for civil actions in this jurisdiction. There is an earnings threshold and a financial assessment will be required before the Legal Services
Agency agrees to fund a case. Usually the LSA will require regular updates to authorise ongoing funding. Your solicitor will be able to advise you if you are eligible for this scheme and will process your application for you.
• After the Event Legal Expenses Insurance – You can purchase a policy which will provide funding for costs and sometimes the expenses of the case. You pay for an initial premium (which will vary depending on the circumstances of the case) however if your case is successful, you will be able to recover the premium from the Defendant.
• Trade Union membership – many trade unions or employee organisations include legal advice as a benefit of membership. Usually you will initially be referred to a panel solicitor nominated by the organisation providing coverage, but you may be able to instruct a solicitor of your choice.
Many people will have a lot more options open to them than they may think. If you need help to discuss your options, please contact our litigation department or Bronagh directly at Bronagh.firstname.lastname@example.org.