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What’s the difference between No Win No Fee and legal aid?

Legal aid and No Win No Fee: you’ve probably heard both phrases before, and while there is some crossover, they each do different things.

To put it simply, legal aid is a government funding scheme that helps with the cost of legal advice for those who can’t afford it. In 2000, the government removed the right to legal aid in personal injury cases.

While legal aid is no longer available for personal injuries and accidents, the government introduced an alternative concept: ‘No Win No Fee’. This was set up to give those who couldn’t afford legal representation access to a lawyer, so they have as fair a chance as anyone else in getting compensation.

Initially, this meant that all legal costs would be covered by the law firm representing you and you would keep 100% of the compensation if the case was successful. However, in April 2013, new legislation was brought in to change the rules. ‘No Win No Fee’ now means you won’t have to pay any solicitor fees if you lose the case. And if you do win the case, the maximum charge is capped at 25% of the compensation.

A No Win No Fee arrangement is officially known as a ‘conditional fee agreement’. A conditional fee agreement is a written agreement between you and your solicitor that states the solicitor has agreed to look after all legal aspects of the case. The document will reference that you’ll only be charged solicitor fees if they win the case for you.

If the case is successful, the solicitor’s fee will be taken as a percentage of the compensation amount. This means you won’t pay the fee out of your own back pocket, it will be deducted from the compensation total instead. The costs will only be recovered at the end of the case and you won’t have to make any upfront payments. If the case is unsuccessful, you won’t be charged a penny.

If you’re interested in No Win No Fee, you can give one of our friendly advisers a call on 0808 159 7655 from a landline or 0370 218 8668 from a mobile and they’ll be more than happy to help. Alternatively, look at our No Win No Fee page for more information.