No win no fee is the term used to describe how solicitors take on a case where they pay the costs of the litigation. Solicitors who operate on this basis pay for the medical reports, stamp duty, experts fees and all other costs associated with the case.
In the vast majority of cases, clients would not be in a position to fund the cost of litigation and thus it is quite a common practice for specialised personal injury firms to operate on a “no win no fee” basis.
The Law Society has strict rules in place regarding advertising and these prohibit any solicitor from advertising their services as no win no fee.
It is important that you clarify with your solicitor before instructing them that they do operate on a no win no fee basis and ensure that this is also put in writing to you.
Some Irish solicitors provide a fee agreement known as a no win no fee solicitor’s agreement. Under this type of solicitor’s agreement, the solicitor will take the case on a no win no fee basis. The solicitor will not charge if a successful resolution is not achieved. The successful resolution may come about by either a settlement outside of court or by appearing in front of a Judge in Court.
A no win, no fee solicitor’s agreement is important because it allows those who are injured to pursue a claim without the concern of how they will pay their solicitor in advance for their services. The solicitor is paid only if they successfully resolve the claim. The fees received by the solicitor varies for each case because every case has its own facts. Scheduling an appointment with a solicitor to discuss your potential claim is one of the best ways for you to receive an estimate on what pursuing your claim may cost.
No win, no fee agreements are legal in Ireland, but solicitors who use them must follow certain rules. These rules explain what solicitors may and may not do to advertise their services. Solicitors who offer no win, no fee agreements may not openly advertise them. If you see a website that mentions the agreement, it could be that you’re visiting a site that has one purpose: to collect information about claims and those who may have them. These sites are completely unregulated and often provide inaccurate information. The site usually says that they will put you into contact with a solicitor who can help you. Solicitors who take referrals from claim harvesting sites breach the Solicitors Acts that create the rules that Irish solicitors are bound to follow.
Additionally, solicitors who offer these agreements and directly advertise them are violating the Solicitors Acts.
Because many solicitors offer no win, no fee agreements, it’s important that you do a bit of research so that you choose the right one. Experience in similar claims is important. You want a personal injury solicitor that has a positive track record for successfully resolving similar claims.
Also, the conditions of a no win, no fee agreement can differ amongst solicitors. One thing that you want to ensure is what happens if the solicitor is not successful in resolving your claim. Some solicitors say they are no win, no fee and still expect you to pay for certain expenses such as the court stamp duty or your medical costs. So, it is up to you to make sure that you read and understand the agreement offered to you. Do not sign it if it makes you uncomfortable.
You should make sure that the solicitor follows the Law Society of Irelands’ Regulations. If you review them, even briefly, you may notice whether the solicitor follow them. If they don’t, you should strongly consider choosing another solicitor.
Review the success record of the solicitor. How many claims like yours have they successfully resolved? How many of those involved out of court settlement? How many involved appearing in front of the Court? What is the average amount awarded for those claims?
Arrange a meeting with the solicitor and consider how you’re treated and how the staff and solicitor speaks to you about your potential claim. Do you feel welcome and valued? Do you feel as if the solicitor and staff listened to you? Did you understand the concepts mentioned? Did they use big terms and make you feel uncomfortable? It’s important for you to work with a solicitor who makes you feel comfortable and who explains things to you in plain English. If the solicitor you speak with makes you uncomfortable, don’t sign an agreement. Talk to other solicitors until you find the one who you feel you get on with best.
TIERNAN & CO SOLICITORS IS A MEMBER OF THE DUBLIN SOLICITORS BAR ASSOCIATION AND THE LAW SOCIETY OF IRELAND