It’s no surprise to anyone that the amount of criticism that the personal injury claims industry has come under, especially over the past few years as the number of accident claims have rocketed despite a drop in the overall number of accidents – many people blame the proliferation of the ‘no win no fee’ legal claim, but is its advent really to blame for the mess we’re in right now?
Conditional fee arrangements, or no win no fee arrangements, may be rather reviled nowadays, but it’s easy to forget that these fee arrangements were originally developed as an ethical solution to provide access to justice to those who could not afford it otherwise. Completely eliminating conditional fee arrangements would strip away this access to justice for many, leaving only people with the necessary funds to pay expensive legal fees and court costs out of pocket unless they have a good legal insurance policy.
Unfortunately, the legal profession’s less reputable practitioners have been capitalising on no win no fee arrangements by perverting the once-noble intentions behind the legal framework, using it to generate revenue for their law firms instead of ensuring that those who are the most in need of legal representation can access it. Consumers are being enticed to bring spurious claims by these disreputable firms, who then rack up court costs and legal fees that then need to be paid by the defendant if they come down on the losing side.
The legal industry does indeed need reform, but eliminating no win no fee could lead to stripping access to justice from too many. Instead, industry experts have suggested altering the way successful lawyers claim their fees by having them taken out of the claimant’s compensation packages instead of having losing defendants pay out above and beyond in order to cover trumped-up legal charges.