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Clamp down on No-win No-fee for claims

Please note: The no win, no fee system is illegal in Northern Ireland and solicitors here cannot deal with cases on that basis.

Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, has said that the government is considering getting rid of the controversial  no-win, no-fee system for claims cases which only operates in England and Wales cases, and instead switching to something similar to the US system where the lawyer takes their fee from the settlement awarded to the client.

The current ability for solicitors in England and Wales to offer no-win, no-fee arrangements has lead to much criticism that it has led to a culture of ‘ambulance chasers’ encouraging victims of injuries to make claims in morally dubious situations. Others have criticised it for denying justice to those with weak-to-borderline cases as firms operating the system effectively have to make a judgement call on the probability of winning the case before deciding whether or not to take it on, meaning many struggle to get solicitor to take up their case. The largest criticism however, relates to how the system allows solicitors to double their fees if they win which causes a substantial increase in legal costs which are paid by the defendants, who are often large public bodies such as the NHS. Similarly, small companiesoften find themselves facing huge legal costs to defend themselves against  any claims, even the nonsense ones, so that it often proved more economically viable to just settle.

Mr Clarke confirmed that he has received some recommendations from Sir Rupert Jackson which “will involve perhaps moving towards the US system whereby some of the costs are recovered out of the damages which are awarded.”

The no-win, no-fee system does not apply to Northern Ireland though many large claims companies on the mainland UK are wrongly targeting the Northern Ireland public. These companies cannot however pursue the case through to the point of going to court, and as such anyone in Northern Ireland who brings a claim under a no win, no fee agreement should be wary of the claims company wanting to settle out of court and perhaps denying you the chance to win the full compensation amount you are entitled to and require in order to cover medical care required to deal with your injury.

If you been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and wish to take legal advice about making a claim, contact Wilson Nesbitt solicitors in Belfast by emailing .

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