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The 50 50 rule is often referred to as a safety net in some complex no win no fee cases.

What is the 50/50 rule for personal injury cases?

In some states, there is what is called a 50/50 rule which is designed to protect the plaintiff when making a personal injury claim from being wiped out financially by legal costs. It works by restricting the amount that a law firm can charge their clients by putting an upper limit on the professional fees (including GST) that a law firm is allowed to charge their client.

So why the term 50/50?

The reason it’s called the 50/50 rule is that a law firm cannot deduct more than 50% from a client’s compensation. For example, if you were awarded $50,000 in compensation for your accident and injuries after outlays such as medical bills have been deducted, but your law firms’ fees amounted to $33,095, they would only be able to recover $25,000. This means that you would keep $25,000 in compensation instead of ending up with just $19,905.

No win no fee legal practioners use the following formulas when calculating caps:

  • Begin with the amount of compensation, including any costs to be paid by the losing party
  • Deduct any refunds the plaintiff needs to make and all your disbursements, to arrive at a balance
  • Then calculate your fees, inclusive of GST which must not exceed half of that balance.


  • Maximum fees = [settlement amount – (refunds + disbursements) ÷ 2]