Understanding ‘No Win - No Fee’ and how it works.
Since Slater and Gordon pioneered the concept of ‘No Win - No Fee’ in 1994, the term has become relatively well known.
And, while you may be familiar with the concept, you may not understand exactly what ‘No Win - No Fee’ means, what it covers, or how it can affect your case.
We’ve written this article to help explain the concept, as well as outline what you can expect when you engage Slater and Gordon on a ‘No Win - No Fee’ basis.
Why do you offer a ‘No Win - No Fee’ service?
Slater and Gordon’s ‘No Win - No Fee’ policy was developed to reflect our belief that every Australian has the right to legal representation, no matter what their financial circumstances are, and to address growing concerns that legal access was increasingly restricted only to those with the ability to pay for it.
Will I be offered a ‘No Win - No Fee’ service in every situation?
All kinds of personal injury cases – workplace claims, motor vehicle claims, public liability claims (just to name a few) – can become ‘No Win - No Fee’ cases. However, before Slater and Gordon will enter into a ‘No Win - No Fee’ arrangement, we must first determine whether your case has merit.
Determining if your claim has merit means that we assess, based on the information available, if there’s a good chance your case will end in a successful legal outcome. It would be irresponsible of us – and unfair on our clients – to offer a ‘No Win - No Fee’ service if we think a case or claim is unlikely to achieve a positive outcome.
However, no matter what advice we provide during our initial appointment with you regarding the likely success of your claim, your initial consultation is free of charge**.
What exactly do you mean by ‘No Fee’?
The ‘No Fee’ component of ‘No Win - No Fee’ means that clients don’t need to pay any of Slater and Gordon’s legal fees if they aren’t successful with their claim. However, what this doesn’t cover are ‘disbursements’, which are non-legal expenses related to a case, such as:
- Medical professional fees
- Fees paid to expert witnesses
- Private investigator fees
- Court claim lodgement fees
If a client can’t afford these fees, other arrangements can be made, including seeking funding from a funding organisation or from Slater and Gordon itself.
It should also be noted that the No Win - No Fee arrangement does not apply to the other party’s legal costs if you lose your case which means that if you were to proceed with your case to a court hearing and you lost you could be required to pay the other party’s legal costs.
If the case is successful, what fees are Slater and Gordon entitled to?
If a successful outcome is achieved, we don’t take a percentage of the compensation you’re awarded.
Instead, the ‘No Win - No Fee’ arrangement entitles us to recover the legal fees associated with the case, which are calculated based on a court scale of fees, as well as what’s known as a success fee or a loading fee.
This fee is typically up to 25 percent of what our costs are assessed at.
Is ‘No Win - No Fee’ completely risk-free?
We devised ‘No Win - No Fee’ to remove a financial risk that once existed for potential clients in relation to our legal costs.
We knew that some people with a legitimate claim were being discouraged from seeking legal advice due to anxiety about losing a case and still needing to pay significant legal costs.
No reliable lawyer can ‘guarantee a win’, and it is for this reason that we would never call ‘No Win - No Fee’ a ‘risk-free’ policy, as there is a risk that you may be required to pay the other party’s legal costs if you proceed to court and are unsuccessful. However, ‘No Win - No Fee’ does represent a valuable opportunity for clients to remove a financial barrier and have access to legal representation.
If you - or someone you know – would like to know more about our No Win - No Fee policy, simply get in touch online or call us on 1800 555 777.
**Some conditions apply. See www.slatergordon.com.au for details.