Funding your case
The cost of engaging in litigation is always an important consideration. Your litigation must be cost effective.
We will give you the highest quality advice on the costs of legal action and finding the method of funding that is right for you.
In England and Wales, the general rule is that the loser of the court case pays the costs of the winner. These costs are separate from the damages or compensation awarded by the court. This means that at the outset we have to consider the costs and benefits of the case, how the action is to be paid for, and whether the matter may be settled without litigation.
Developments in the funding of cases over recent years mean that those pursuing legal action now have more choice than before as to how their cases are paid for.
Conditional fee agreements
This method is the most modern way of funding your case. The terms of these agreements must be carefully explained by your solicitor. They are often called "No Win, No Fee" agreements. This means that if you do not win your case you are not liable for your own legal costs. If you win you are liable for your costs, but the majority of the costs should be paid by your opponent. BUT if you lose your case it is highly likely that you will be made liable for your opponent's legal costs - which can be paid by way of an insurance policy.
If you win your case the law allows us to charge a "success fee" calculated as a percentage of the basic costs. Your opponent is liable to pay at least the majority of the success fee, in addition to paying your damages. We will only enter into a conditional fee agreement with you after we have evaluated the merits of your case. If you enter into a conditional fee agreement you will need to buy an accompanying policy of insurance to protect you from an adverse costs order.
Even though Cameron Clarke Law Firm does not offer this service, Public funding, previously known as legal aid, is still available for some legal actions such as clinical negligence, but it is not available for straightforward personal injury litigation. The Legal Services Commission must authorise all work undertaken under the scheme. You may be required to pay a monthly amount on account for the work being done on your behalf, but this is normally repaid when the case finishes. Public funding is only available to clients with a limited amount of money, and where the case is likely to be successful.
The Community Legal Service web site has a legal aid calculator which helps you to work out if you are eligible for public funding.
Trade union funding
Some trade unions have a legal advice and assistance scheme which allows you to obtain advice from an approved solicitor. If you are a member of a trade union, you will probably be entitled to a free initial interview to decide whether you have a case which is likely to succeed. Your union may then fund the whole of the case for you and there will be no risk that you will have to pay the costs.
Usually, this method of funding means that the claimant gets all of their compensation at the end of the case without the risk of paying the legal costs. Some Unions even have schemes to pay for cases brought by your children or spouse.
Legal expenses insurance
This kind of insurance policy has been purchased before the incident giving rise to the action takes place. It is most often attached to other insurance policies such as household, travel or motor insurance for a small annual fee. Sometimes insurance is attached to credit card agreements, or as a benefit attached to bank accounts. You need to inform your solicitor if there is any possibility that you may be insured and he can then advise you further.
This is the most straightforward method of funding legal action but also the least popular. The lawyer undertakes the work, the client pays and if the case is won, a cost order will be sought from the other party. Such cost orders will not normally cover the entire fees of your lawyer. If the case is lost, the client is normally responsible for paying the costs of the defendants in addition to his own costs. This form of funding is unpopular because the client takes all of the risk of the case losing and of paying the costs of the other party. Lawyers normally charge an hourly rate for work done. Cameron Clarke will negotiate an hourly rate and in some cases will offer a fixed fee.