Skip to main content

No Win No Fee Claims (Conditional Fee Agreements)

No Win, No Fee agreements are a way of funding personal injury and medical negligence claims when you do not have the money to pursue a claim and legal aid is not available. The legal term for this is a "conditional fee agreement".

If you win your claim then we will be able to recover both compensation and the large majority of your legal costs. The downside is that you may have to pay  money from your compensation to cover an insurance policy and a success fee to our firm. If you lose the case you will not have to pay any fees . The scheme is best explained by one of our lawyers and details are set out in the section "No Win No Fee explained" below.

In most claims, assuming we think your case is strong enough, we will offer you a conditional fee agreement straight away.

No Win No Fee explained

No win, no fee agreements are a way of funding personal injury and medical negligence claims. The legal term for this is a “conditional fee agreement”. 

In a privately funded claim, you would have to pay all of our charges and costs for conducting your claim up to and including trial. If you win your claim then your opponents, the defendants, would pay your legal costs as well as your compensation. We would then normally repay to you the costs that you had paid to us.

If you lost your claim you would have to pay your own legal fees and expenses but you would not normally have to pay the other side’s legal costs; “conditional fee agreements”  are different.

We share the risk 

With a “conditional fee agreement” we will share the risk so that if you lose your claim we will not charge you our own costs. If you win your claim then we will be able to  recover the large majority of our basic costs from the  losing defendants. 

In most claims we will offer you a conditional fee agreement straight away. However in some claims we will have to carry out investigations before we can offer you a conditional  fee agreement.

Success fee 

In “conditional fee agreements” cases we are taking a risk that we will not be paid for the work that we do in conducting your claim. Because of this, there will usually be a “success fee” which you will pay to us from your compensation. 

The success fee is inclusive of VAT and is capped at 25% of the compensation which you will receive for your past losses and for your pain and suffering. 

The success fee is based on a percentage of our basic costs it is not calculated as a percentage of your compensation. The success fee is set by Court Rules. 

Insurance for costs 

If you lose the case, although you will not be liable to pay our fees, you will still have to pay the costs of the experts instructed on your behalf as well as the court fees incurred on your behalf. In addition you may be required to pay the other side’s costs. We will normally take out an insurance  policy for you to cover these expenses. 

In the vast majority of claims the premium will not be payable until the end of the claim and will be deducted from your compensation.

If the claim is lost you do not have to pay the insurance premium at all: it is self-insured.

Money we have to pay to other people (“disbursements”)

Throughout the duration of the claim we will have to pay money to other people for items such as medical reports, court fees, barrister’s fees,  travelling expenses and the like. 

If you win the claim then this outlay will almost always be repaid by the defendants. If you lose the claim then the insurance policy will cover those items that were incurred after the date that the policy was taken out.

No Win No Fee FAQs

What is No Win No Fee?

A financial agreement between you and a solicitor to help you to investigate and pursue a medical negligence or personal injury claim. These claims may otherwise be expensive in terms of the solicitor's work (costs) and expenses of experts providing evidence to support a claim, plus Court fees (disbursements).

If you pursue a claim, but do not win, you may not recover these costs and disbursements and, in some circumstances, may be required to pay the costs and disbursements of your opponent. No win no fee arrangements, correctly known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) are designed to help people bring claims. Generally, your solicitor will take out an insurance policy with the CFA to cover the costs of expert fees. The CFA and insurance policy together help protect against the risks of losing these costs and disbursements if the claim is not successful.

If you bring a legal claim backed by a CFA and insurance but lose, you will not have to pay any of the costs or disbursements spent to investigate the claim. If you win your claim, generally, the 'loser pays the costs'. Under the CFA, if you win your claim, you will be responsible to pay your solicitor's basic charges, expenses, disbursements, and part of the premium for the insurance you have taken out. However, you will be able to recover from your losing opponent part or all of these, as well as the relevant proportion of the insurance premium.

Under the rules on CFAs, if you win your claim, your solicitor is also entitled to charge an extra fee for their costs, called the 'success fee'. This is deducted from certain parts of the compensation or 'damages' you receive from your opponent for your injuries. There is a limit to how much can be deducted. In addition, the part of any insurance premium not paid by the losing party is also taken from your compensation. When you enter into a CFA with your solicitor, with or without insurance, the exact terms of the arrangement are clearly set out in the document you sign to enter into the agreement.

Not all Solicitors charge the same success fee or insurance premium. Some Solicitors put a clause in their agreement that entitles them to take other costs and expenses they have spent on your behalf, from the damages, but not all solicitors do this. Not all 'no win no fee' agreements/CFAs are the same! It is very important to talk to your prospective Solicitor about their terms so that you understand what this will mean for you in your claim. In addition, some Solicitors are better at obtaining higher damages for you than others. This may mean that they receive more money in terms of their success fee, calculated as a percentage of part of your compensation. It also means the compensation that you receive will be higher overall, than might otherwise be the case.

At Fieldfisher we take enormous pride in offering our clients 'no win no fee'/CFA arrangements which we think are very client friendly and we work with insurers whose premium costs are very competitive. We also have the skill and experience needed to maximise your damages. It is very important to make sure, when entering into a 'no win no fee' arrangement that the terms are good for you. In addition, you need to be sure that your Solicitor knows how to win your claim and make sure you receive enough compensation for your injury.

How does a No Win No Fee claim work?

If you enter into a 'no win no fee' contract, correctly known as a Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA), you make an agreement with your Solicitor about the costs of investigating and fighting your claim. If you lose your claim, you will not have to pay these costs. If you win your claim, under the agreement, you are responsible to pay your Solicitor's basic charges, expenses and disbursements (which are the costs of expert and Court fees incurred to investigate and pursue your claim) together with part of the premium for the insurance policy the Solicitor usually takes out to help protect you. However, you are usually able to recover these costs from your opponent who has lost the litigation.

The contract with your Solicitor may also allow them to recover an additional fee from you called a "Success Fee" if you win your claim. This fee and part of the insurance premium are not be paid by the losing opponent. Instead, they are deducted from part of your compensation, based on a percentage of the amount obtained. The amount taken is limited by the terms of the contract. Your Solicitor must clearly set out how these costs and expenses are calculated.

Not all Solicitors however, charge the same success fee or insurance premium! At Fieldfisher solicitors, we pride ourselves on providing very competitive client friendly contracts and work with insurers who provide very competitive insurance premiums. We also pride ourselves on having the skill and expertise to win your case and maximise your damages so that even after payment of such fees you will have enough compensation to meet all the lifelong needs arising from your injuries. It is important before entering into a 'no win no fee'/ CFA contract to be sure that you understand the terms that they are offering so that you know that they are fair for you.

Will you act for me on a No Win No Fee basis?

Fieldfisher solicitors have considerable experience in successfully representing people in personal injury and clinical negligence claims under 'no win no fee' arrangements correctly known as a Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA). Usually your solicitor will take out an insurance policy with the CFA, which gives further protection to you against paying the costs and expenses (often called disbursements) involved in investigating and fighting your claim, which you would otherwise have to pay if you were to lose your claim.

Before your Fieldfisher solicitor offers you a 'no win no fee' agreement/CFA, they will talk to you about all the circumstances which caused your injury and carefully consider with you the legal implications of your claim. They will offer you a CFA if, after discussing the case they believe that you have reasonable prospects of winning your case and also that the costs of fighting the case will not be more than the amount of compensation you are likely to obtain in a successful claim. If they apply for insurance to protect you, they will be required to say to the insurer that they think that your case is likely to win.

At Fieldfisher Solicitors, we offer very competitive and client friendly terms under such arrangements. It is important to remember that not all Solicitors offer the same terms and it is important that you instruct a solicitor who offers terms that are right for you. It is also very important to instruct a solicitor who knows how to win your case and to maximise the amount of compensation you receive. We pride ourselves on our ability to win difficult cases and maximise compensation. We will agree to offer you a CFA, if after discussion we agree that your claim has good prospects of winning significant compensation. 

Which types of injury claim can you make using a No Win No Fee agreement?

'No win no fee' arrangements correctly called a Conditional Fee Arrangements (CFA) can be used in nearly all types of personal injury and clinical negligence claim. At Fieldfisher solicitors, we have considerable skill and expertise in winning claims with 'no win no fee'/CFA arrangements in many areas of personal injury, particularly where the value of these claims is high and the issues involved in the claim are complex.

We have experts in clinical negligence and all types of personal injury claims including road traffic accidents, injuries at work, disease claims including where injury has been caused by asbestos, injuries abroad, and injuries arising from terrorist attacks and disasters, where steps could have been taken to avoid these.

We also have expertise in claims where people have been injured because of failures in public policy. For example, we have successfully obtained compensation for people injured because of poor safety arrangements e.g. 'smart motorways'. We also, use 'no win no fee'/CFA arrangements to represent people with physical and psychological injuries caused through abuse.

Are all legal cases covered by No Win No Fee?

Nearly all legal cases involving going to Court (litigation) can be covered under a 'no win no fee' arrangement, correctly called a Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA). They are not only used for personal injury and clinical negligence cases. Usually CFAs are accompanied by an insurance policy that your Solicitor will take out for you once they have offered you a Conditional Fee Arrangement in order to protect you further against losses, costs and expenditure if you lose your case.

There are however other ways to fund legal cases. At Fieldfisher, we will be pleased to take on your case under a variety of funding arrangements including privately paying, payment by your Trade Union or other organisation or payment through a pre-existing Insurance Policy that you may have taken out to help you bring a personal injury or medical negligence claim should one arise. If you have such insurance which is called 'before the event insurance' (BTE) as part of a household or other insurance policy, Fieldfisher may be able to act for you under the policy by agreement with the insurer, if the policy is sufficient to investigate and fight your claim. The insurer may still require you and your Solicitor to take out a 'no win no fee' /CFA for solicitors costs, whilst they provide cover for the other types of expenses which will be involved in the claim. We have considerable skill experience and expertise in fighting claims funded by all types of funding and will advise you about the arrangement that is best for you.

Are there exceptions to making a No Win No Fee claim?

Not all claims for personal injuries and clinical negligence are brought using a 'no win no fee' arrangement, correctly known as a Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA). You may decide for instance to pursue it by paying privately. This carries more risk because if you lose the claim you may still have to pay your Solicitor's fees (costs), and the expert and Court fees (disbursements) and sometimes the costs and disbursements of the Defendant if you lose the case. However, if you were to win the case you would not have money deducted from your damages to cover the "success fee" which is often claimed in a CFA arrangement when you win your case.

Claims can be funded by your Union or other organisation. You may also have taken out insurance to pay for the legal costs and expenses of a personal injury claim if one should arise, called 'before the event' (BTE) insurance.

At Fieldfisher Solicitors we are proud to be able to work with our clients under various forms of funding and will explore with you your options so you can decide the best method of meeting the costs of your personal injury or medical negligence case.

What other funding options are available?

Before deciding to run your claim with a 'no win no fee' Arrangement, correctly known as a Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA), your Solicitor will discuss with you all the funding options that are available to you.

You can investigate and fight your case privately and although this carries more risk if you should lose your case, there would then be no 'success fee' or part of the insurance premium payable out of your damages if you win. A Union or other organisation might also be willing to pay the costs and expenses of your claim. You may also have taken out insurance as part of a household or other insurance policy to cover the legal costs and expenses of a clinical negligence or personal injury claim, before it had arisen called 'before the event' (BTE) insurance. Fieldfisher solicitors will be happy to work with your BTE insurer if you have this cover and it is adequate for your claim. Even if you have suitable BTE insurance, your insurer may require you to take out a CFA with your Solicitor to cover their costs, whilst the BTE insurance covers the other expenses involved in fighting the case.

Legal Aid funding is still available in very limited personal injury cases relating only to catastrophic brain (neurological) damage occurring in the first six weeks of life, caused through medical negligence. At Fieldfisher Solicitors, however we are pleased to be able to offer alternative funding arrangements for this type of claim, which we specialise in fighting. These arrangements are as least as favourable and protective of costs for you as Legal Aid funding is, but without the restrictions in the choice of expert and delays involved in the administration of a claim funded through the Legal Aid Agency.

Is No Win No Fee different to the legal cover I get through my Insurance?

Many people have, included in their household or other insurance policy, cover to fund a personal injury or clinical negligence claim before it arises. This is 'before the event' (BTE) insurance. If you sustain an injury you may be able to claim the solicitors costs and disbursements (expenses including experts reports and Court fees) needed to investigate and fight your claim, up to a specified and limited amount. This type of insurance may also protect you against any costs and disbursements that you have to pay your opponent if you lose your claim.

If you do not have BTE insurance, or it is not sufficient to cover the costs and expenses of your claim, your Solicitor will be able to enter into a 'no win no fee' arrangement, correctly called a Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA) for their costs. In this arrangement, if you lose the claim you do not have to pay your solicitor's legal costs. Usually your solicitor will take out an insurance policy for you with the CFA to pay for the disbursements you will have to spend in the claim, even if you lose. If you win your claim, you can claim both the costs and disbursements back from the losing party. This type of insurance called 'after the event' (ATE) insurance, is taken out after the injury has occurred.

Although if you win a case part of the ATE insurance premium will be paid by the Defendant or losing party, not all of it will be recoverable in this way and some of it will be deducted from your damages. Additionally under the 'no win no fee'/CFA arrangement, your Solicitor may be entitled to charge an additional "success fee" for their costs in the event that you win the case, which will also be deducted, from part of your damages.

You pay BTE insurance premiums up front, before you are injured. They are not recoverable. ATE premiums are only partly paid by you and then, only if you win your claim and receive compensation. BTE insurance is limited as to the amount of costs and disbursements that it will cover. You may not be able to choose your Solicitor until your claim commences formally in court. If you claim under a BTE policy, you may be required to choose a Solicitor only from the insurer's panel, when you are investigating the claim. These Solicitors may not be a specialised, as you need for your claim. Your BTE insurer may require you and your solicitor to enter into a 'no win no fee'/CFA arrangement anyway, and their insurance will then only cover the disbursements of the litigation but not the Solicitors costs. The solicitor may then charge a 'success fee' if you win.

At Fieldfisher Solicitors, we may be able to work with your BTE insurer, even though we are not on their panel. As BTE insurance cover is always limited and 'capped' and may be insufficient for the needs of your claim, it may be better for you to take out a 'no win no fee'/CFA arrangement with ATE insurance instead, sufficient to provide the cover you need. This is permitted under the rules that govern CFAs. We will always advise you of all the funding options available to you, so you can choose what is best for you.

What is the difference between legal aid and No Win No Fee?

Legal aid is a government scheme that, in some circumstances, will cover the costs of legal proceedings if you cannot afford to pay them yourself. If you win, you may have to repay some or all of your legal costs. Certain criteria have to be met before this funding applies. . Legal aid is no longer available for clinical negligence claims, except in very limited cases including brain injury caused at birth or in the neonatal period.

No win, no fee agreements, otherwise called 'conditional fee agreements', are open to anyone who wants to pursue a claim.

If your case is unsuccessful, you will not pay us any legal fees. If your case succeeds, the defendant will pay most of the legal costs incurred in pursuing your claim. In addition, the defendant will also pay you compensation for your injuries.

Under the conditional fee agreement, there will usually be a 'success fee' to compensate solicitors for the risk we take where a case is unsuccessful and we do not get paid. The success fee is paid from the compensation you receive and is capped to a maximum of 25% of any general damages and past losses. This varies from case to case and we discuss it with you before we agree to proceed with the case so you understand exactly what you pay if you win.

How long do I have to make a No Win No Fee claim?

The general time limit to begin Court proceedings is three years from the date of the negligence, or three years from the date you realised you received negligent treatment. This is known as a limitation period. There are two exceptions to this rule:

Children: A child's three-year limitation period does not begin until they are 18. What this means is, if a child is injured due to negligence, they can bring a claim at any time up until they are 21 years-old.

Those who lack mental capacity: The three-year limitation period will not begin until the injured person regains capacity. If they do not regain capacity, someone else can pursue a claim on their behalf. They will be known as the 'Litigation friend' (also used for children below a certain age). In cases where capacity will never be regained, there is no limitation period and the Litigation Friend can bring a claim at any time.

In claims involving fatality, the three-year period expires three years from the date of death so long as it has not expired previously.

What will happen when I make a No win No fee claim?

Once we agree to take on your case, we will start investigating the standard of care provided and the injuries caused as a result. The first step is to take your account of events before requesting copies of your medical records from your GP and any treating hospitals. When the records have been considered and discussed with you, we will instruct medical experts to report on the standard of care you have received and what injuries, if any, have been caused as a result of any failings. Expert evidence will also be required in relation to condition and prognosis. If the evidence supports a claim, the allegations will be put to the defendant to obtain their response. It may be necessary to begin proceedings in Court. Depending on your injuries, we will also ensure you get the support and treatment you need to help with your recovery/improve your quality of life wherever possible. We will keep you updated on all aspects of your case and will not do anything without informing you.

How likely am I to win a No Win No Fee case?

This varies from case to case. We will discuss this with you before we take on your case and update you and advise of any change.

Can I claim on behalf of someone else?

Yes, in certain circumstances you can claim on behalf of someone else. These are:

Children: You can bring a claim on behalf of a child at any time before their 18th birthday. If the claim is not brought before this time, the child has three years from their 18th birthday to issue the claim.

Those that lack mental capacity: In cases where the injured person lacks mental capacity and it is unlikely they will ever gain mental capacity, a litigation friend may bring a claim on their behalf. There is no limitation period in these circumstances, meaning that the litigation friend can bring the claim at any time.

Deceased: You claim on behalf of someone who has died as a result of the negligence. The limitation date is three years after the death of the injured person provided it has not expired within their lifetime.

Can you take over from my current lawyers?

Absolutely. If you have instructed another law firm and are unhappy with how it is being handled, we can assess your case and tell you if we can take it on. We regularly take over cases and can liaise with your current solicitors to transfer your case to us.

How do I start a No Win No Fee claim?

If you think you may have a claim and want to discuss this with a specialist solicitor, you can contact us by phone or email or via our online enquiry form. If you contact us by email or online, we will get in touch to discuss your case in more detail. We will then let you know if we can take on your case and what the next steps will be. This is completely free.

How long might my claim take?

This differs case by case and will depend on the facts of your claim. We will discuss your case with you and estimate a time scale. Variables that affect your case include the extent of your injuries, whether your prognosis can be determined, whether the defendant admits liability and the stage at which your case concludes. This will all be discussed with you at the start of your claim and throughout.

How much compensation will I receive if my No Win No Fee claim succeeds?

This varies from case to case, dependant on the facts of your claim. We will discuss this with you and, when appropriate, will negotiate your compensation with the defendant. We will keep you informed about the likely compensation you will receive.

How is compensation defined?

At the end of your case, if successful, you will be awarded a sum of money, known as compensation. This will comprise three distinct elements:

General damages – the amount you will receive for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity, in other words for the injury or injuries you have suffered. It is governed by the Judicial College Guidelines and previous cases.

Special damages – the amount you will receive for past losses and expenses incurred until the end of your claim. It may include loss of earnings, care, travel, medical and other expenses you have incurred or have been incurred on your behalf.

Future damages – the amount you will receive for your predicted future losses and expenses. In most cases, this will be the bulk of the compensation you will recover, compensating you for the care you need, loss of earnings, aids, equipment, specialist accommodation and other items specific to your claim.

If I win my case, who pays my solicitor?

The general rule in personal injury and medical negligence claims is that the loser pays the winner's legal fees. Our fees will therefore be paid by the defendant. Depending on your circumstances and the agreement we enter into with you at the beginning of your case, there may be a small deduction for our success fee and for any insurance policy we take out on your behalf. These will form a very small proportion of the compensation award.

How much will my solicitor get paid if I win?

Our fees depend on the amount of work we do in your claim. The longer the claim takes to reach a conclusion, the higher our fees are likely to be. In some cases, all our costs will be paid by the defendant. In a few cases, we will claim a success fee and there may be an insurance premium to pay from the compensation award.

Are there any other costs if I win?

This will depend on the agreement we enter at the outset of your claim. In some cases there will be no deduction at all from your award of compensation and you will receive 100%. In others, there may be a deduction for our success fee and/or an insurance premium. The level of our success fee will depend on the risks involved in your claim and the stage at which the case concludes. It is only ever a very small proportion of the total award of compensation. The insurance premium also depends on the stage at which the case concludes and the value of the claim. It also will only ever form a very small proportion of the total value of your claim.

What happens if I lose a No Win No Fee claim?

You will not recover any compensation but importantly you will not owe any money to anyone. This is the major advantage of a No Win No Fee claim.

If I lose my case, who pays my solicitor?

If you lose your case and we are acting under a No Win No Fee Agreement then we will not get paid for the work we have done. This is why we can only offer a No Win No Fee Agreement if we feel your case has a reasonable prospect of success.

Are there any catches to No Win No Fee claims?

No! Put simply, if you lose the case you do not owe any money to anyone. If you win, you recover most, if not all, of your compensation. No Win No Fee Agreements were designed to provide access to justice to people who otherwise could not afford to instruct solicitors.

Contact us

For a free, no obligation call with one of our injury claims experts, please dial 0800 358 3848 or complete our online enquiry form.