No win no fee legal claims back in the spotlight

No win no fee legal claims are back in the spotlight as a new legal reform bill works its way through Parliament, personal injury compensation experts recently reported.

Personal injury solicitors are up in arms about the possibility of losing a revenue stream that can be quite lucrative, and the recent activity could be part of a rearguard action on the part of lawyers and claimants, experts say.  No win no fee legal arrangements – more correctly known as conditional fee arrangements – are agreements between claimants and lawyers that allow lawyers to recover legal fees from losing defendants in the event that claims are successful, and some lawyers have been known to pad their costs by charging ‘success fees,’ raising their hourly rates by as much as 100 per cent, and defendants are often left footing the bill for insurance cover taken out by claimants in the event that their claims are unsuccessful.

Lord Justice Jackson commented on no win no fee arrangements in a report published in December of 2009 where he called the system ‘the most bizarre and expensive’ one ever devised.  Now, in the years following the report, the Government has introduced a bill designed to reform regulations to eliminate some of the perceived injustices of such arrangements.

However, there have been complications with the new legal reform bill in the form of concerns over limitations to access to justice for those without the financial ability to take legal counsel without conditional fee arrangements.  Many advocate groups have said that eliminating or limiting no win no fee agreements could result in too many people falling through the cracks at a time in their  lives when they need the most help they can get.


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