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12 No-win, No-fee Actions

pdf icon Download No-win, No-fee Actions (273kb)

1. Introduction

2. The cost of taking legal action

3. What does ´no-win, no-fee´ mean?

4. How do I know what I will have to pay?

It is important to get a written estimate of all the likely costs from your solicitor before they start to work on your case, even though you may not have to pay these costs under a 'no- win, no-fee' agreement.

Remember that a no-win, no-fee agreement removes some of the uncertainty and financial risk of taking legal action, but it doesn't remove all of it. And remember that at this stage you are getting only an estimate. The final cost may be higher if, for example, the case takes longer than expected.

The Law Society, the professional organisation for all solicitors in England and Wales, has a model conditional-fee (no-win, no-fee) agreement, which many solicitors use as a basis for their own agreement for their clients. The professional regulations that solicitors must follow say that your solicitor must explain their agreement to you.

If you win, you will have to pay:

  • your own solicitor's basic charges;
  • a success fee (if there is one);
  • other fees and disbursements (like expert witnesses' or a barrister's fees);
  • the premium for after-the-event insurance, if you have taken out such cover (see 'After-the-event insurance').

However, your opponent will be ordered to pay most, if not all, of these charges.

If you lose, you will have to pay:

  • expenses, such as court fees;
  • your expert-witness fees and other disbursements;
  • your opponent's legal fees, including their solicitor's basic charges and success fee (if there is one), and any insurance premium they have paid; and
  • your opponent's disbursements (for example expert-witness fees).

5. How can I make sure I don´t have to pay a big bill if I lose?

6. How does legal-expenses insurance work?

7. Terms used in legal actions

8. Further Help

9. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Roger Bolt of Bolt Burdon Kemp.

Leaflet Version: October 2006

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