Uplift Fees in No Win No Fee personal injury claims: NSW and VIC

by adminOctober 8, 2019

In New South Wales and Victoria, lawyers are permitted under Uniform Law 2015 to charge plaintiffs an uplift fee or success fee in the event of a successful personal injury claim.

What is an uplift fee?

Only applicable to conditional costs or no win no fee agreements, uplift fees are an additional legal cost (excluding disbursement) payable on the successful outcome of a personal injury claim.

Not to be confused with a contingency fee arrangement where the amount payable to the law practice, or any part of that amount, is calculated based on the plaintiffs awarded settlement.

Many people view success fees an unnecessary commission or extortionate reward, however, without such incentives for law firms many victims of no-fault accidents would not be able to access legal representation.

It’s important to note that not all law firms charge success fees.

How much is a success fee?

There is no prescribed amount however, an uplift fee must not exceed 25% of the fees otherwise payable. It must also be clearly identified in the lawyer/plaintiff no win no fee agreement. By law, solicitors must provide clients with an estimate of how much extra will be deducted from their compensation in the event of a successful outcome.

For example:

Generally, the more complex a matter is the higher the uplift fee will be.

Why do lawyers charge uplift fees?

Law firms are only permitted to charge success fees in conditional costs agreements.

Because outcomes aren’t set in stone, unfortunately, many victims who have suffered genuine injuries in no-fault accidents end up falling short of a payout. When such matters have been run via a conditional costs agreement it’s not only the plaintiff who misses out. In many instances law firms have lost tens of thousands of dollars out of their own pockets legal fees when legal proceedings fail.

For this reason, uplift fees are permitted to encourage law firms to take the risk of potentially losing a personal injury claim (and all of their fees along with it).

What matters are applicable?

The ruling may be applied to but not limited to the following:

History of success fees

Uplift fees were introduced in New South Wales and Victoria in 1993 but abandoned in 2004 before being brought back again in 2015.

Moving forward

If you’re thinking of commencing a case and wondering whether or not you’re matter is subject to success fees then contact us for expert advice. Our lawyers can let you know in minutes whether or not you have a case and also if you can take advantage of no win no fee.

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