Guest blog post regarding the potential end of no win no fee in April 2013.
Conditional agreements (no win, no fee) were introduced in 1995 for personal jury cases, so those from lower wage brackets could afford access to justice; the plan was to lessen the financial burden on the state, that was pouring money into the legal system, and support those without two pennies to rub together.
Not really. The compensation awarded to an individual wouldn’t take into account the steep solicitor fees, so claimants were actually getting undercompensated…by a lot. In very serious cases, their health was damaged, due to being unable to pay for fundamental medical care. So, it was back to the drawing board for the Labour party.
Winner Takes It All
In 1999, the government passed legislation that placed the heavy legal costs on the shoulders of the defendant, should the claimant win their case. Wonderful news for the injured party and this system has worked well, until now.
Insurers have been complaining about the influx of claimants under the ‘no win, no fee’ system, although the only real increase has been seen in road accident claims. Insurance companies believe that they shouldn’t have to foot the opponent’s legal bills.
Reforms To ‘No Win, No Fee’ Policy
Ministers under the Conservative government are not fans of full compensation and want the claimant to pay for having a case. After April 2013, claimants will be paying for the legal fees out of their own pocket, with no help from the defendant. Effectively, we’ll be back to the old system.
Saving The Insurance Industry A Buck Or Two
Currently, the small claims limit is £1,000, for personal injury cases. The government is planning to raise this amount to a staggering £5,000. Basically, the injured party won’t be able to reclaim any legal fees, so either they pay for a lawyer or risk representing themselves in court. This is great for the insurance industry and the guilty party.
To Claim or Not to Claim
Under these new policies, the best advice any law representative could give you is: don’t get injured in the first place or you’ll have to remortgage your house just to pay for the legal fees. Solicitors are likely to charge top-end prices, due to the risks involved, so claimants who’ve suffered extremely severe injuries will get charged top dollar for the privilege of taking their case to court.
With severe cuts to health and safety regulations on the horizon, you’re going to have to watch where you tread…or hope that you can get your claim finalised by April 2013, when the changes to legislation are set to be finalised.
The no win no fee changes are groundbreaking within the legal community and the consequences can create a new set of problems. Jigsaw Law personal injury solicitors want to assure claimants will get the representation they deserve.
Please follow them on Twitter here @Jigsaw_Law or visit their address location at: Jigsaw Law, Pioneer House, Pioneer Business Park, North Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire CH65