Conditional Costs Agreements AKA No Win No Fee
Conditional cost agreements “CCAs” promise litigants a way of funding litigation with little to no financial exposure. Often marketed as No Win No Fee, CCA’s help plaintiffs and defendants who choose to not fund or cant afford to fund their legal proceedings
What is a CCA?
Conditional Costs Agreements refer to a legal document made between a law firm and a litigant whereby the legal costs payable are conditional on the successful outcome of the legal matter to which the costs relate.
History of Conditional Costs Agreements
In the past solicitors were formerly prohibited from offering CCA’s to their clients due to the ‘speculative’ nature of such agreements they automatically gave solicitors a direct financial interest.
The emergence of no win no fee
Over the past couple of decades, responsibility for funding legal services has moved further away from state provision. In the early ’90s due to a change in government policy and the abolition legal aid in personal injury cases, access to justice became increasingly beyond reach for most claimants. Because of this CCA’s and No Win No Fee are now general practice.
Why are they CCA’s so commonly referred to as no win no fee?
While there’s no legal reason, the most obvious answer would probably come down to marketability factors. The words “conditional costs agreements” are seen as legal jargon by most consumers and it doesn’t have the same ring as no win no fee. Most plaintiffs who enter into no win no fee agreements are actually totally unaware of their official name.
Different types of CCA’s
Depending on the nature of legal proceedings and who they are being offered to generally determines the type of CCA
In the personal injury sector due to the ease and accuracy of judging whether a plaintiffs case will be successful or not lawyers often offer to cover 100% of the legal costs in the event of an unsuccessful outcome. However, 100% risk free is not available for all types of legal matters.
Common variations of CCA’s include:
- Discounted fee agreements where a lawyer will only cover a pre-agreed percentage of the total costs
- Professional fee agreements where a lawyer agrees to cover their own professional fees but not their disbursements.
- Fee percentage caps where fees are capped at a predetermined percentage of any settlement to stop litigants being wiped out by costs
Things to be aware of when considering a CCA
Any litigant should consider the following before entering into a no win ‐ no fee costs agreement:
- What is considered a successful outcome?
- Is there a five‐day cooling-off period?
- Is your agreement subject to success fees?
- Has the law firm given you an estimate (in writing) how much the case is expected to cost you?
- Have you been informed of your right to seek independent legal advice?
Where can I find a CCA?
Millner and Knight can provide you with a lawyer to carry your matter forward.
The personal injury sector is highly competitive. Add to that the recent changes in legislation we’ve seen a recent rise in unfair charges by lawyers.
Wills and estates
No win no fee and conditional costs agreements can no be applied to criminal matters.