If you are looking for a compensation lawyer in Melbourne, you have likely come across the term ‘no win no fee lawyer’ a number of times. This legal arrangement is offered by lawyers throughout VIC for personal injury matters, but what exactly does it mean?
At Henry Carus + Associates, we offer a unique No Win – No Fee policy that enables our clients to access quality legal service without having to worry about incurring any costs until the claim is successfully resolved. Keep reading for more information on how ‘no win – no fee’ costs agreements usually work, how our firm is different, and how to contact us today.
Call Henry Carus + Associates at 03 9001 1318 for a FREE, no-obligation consultation with a no win no fee lawyer. We serve clients in Melbourne and throughout VIC.
What Does ‘No Win No Fee’ Mean?
Under a ‘no win – no fee’ agreement, a lawyer agrees to handle your legal matter with the understanding that you will be expected to pay legal costs only if the matter is successful. Lawyers offer ‘no win – no fee’ agreements to clients who may lack the financial resources to pay for services on an upfront or hourly basis. These arrangements are also called ‘conditional costs agreements’. They are commonplace in personal injury claims and many other civil matters.
NOTE: Henry Carus + Associates handles all personal injury matters on a ‘no win – no fee’ basis.
Most personal injury claims involve clients who are facing significant financial hardships as a result of their injuries. If they had to pay legal costs upfront, many injured in accidents would be unfairly denied the opportunity to seek valuable compensation.
Hence, no win no fee lawyers ‘level the playing field’ for those who have been injured through no fault of their own. Lawyers generally enter into ‘no win – no fee’ agreements when they believe a claim has a realistic chance of succeeding. This provides claimants with additional peace of mind. Not only are most legal costs (see below) only charged if the matter is successful, but the law firm’s willingness to take on the matter on a ‘no win – no fee’ basis should provide some confidence that the firm will be able to succeed for you.
What Is Included in a ‘No Win No Fee’ Agreement?
Lawyers in VIC are required to present potential clients with certain information when retained on a ‘no win – no fee’ agreement. The Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner (VLSBC) identifies these elements as follows:
- An estimate of the legal costs the lawyer expects will be incurred in handling your claim, as well as how these costs are calculated and when they will be payable
- A period of at least 5 business days in which you can choose to end the ‘no win – no fee’ agreement after hiring a lawyer (known as a ‘cooling-off period’)
- A statement confirming that you have ‘been informed of your right to get independent legal advice before signing the agreement’
- How ‘success’ is defined under the terms of the agreement
How Do No Win No Fee Lawyers Define a ‘Success’?
Generally, a ‘success’ is considered any positive resolution of your legal matter. You will be expected to pay your lawyer’s legal costs should one of the following occur:
- A settlement of your claim is reached
- You are awarded compensation by a court or tribunal
The VLSBC identifies additional circumstances that may be considered a ‘win’ in a ‘no win – no fee agreement’, including ‘accepting advice to agree to a settlement offer made by the other side’ and ‘rejecting a settlement offer your lawyer recommends that you should accept’. Ultimately, it is important to understand when you will be required to pay fees.
What Is an Uplift Fee?
In addition to legal costs for work done, an uplift fee may also be included in a ‘no win – no fee’ agreement. Uplift fees provide additional compensation to lawyers and law firms for taking on the risk of a legal matter without payment. As such, you are only charged an uplift fee if your claim is successful.
An uplift fee is calculated as a percentage of the legal costs. Uplift fees in Victoria may not exceed 25% of the fees your lawyer incurs in handling your claim.
Do I Pay Any Fees If My Legal Matter Doesn’t Succeed?
Although you are generally not required to pay legal costs if a no win no fee lawyer does not obtain a favourable result in your matter, there are other costs and fees you may be expected to pay even if the case doesn’t succeed. This could include the other side’s legal costs if you lose, as well as disbursements.
What Are Disbursements?
Disbursements are the out-of-pocket costs a no win no fee lawyer incurs in handling your claim. They include expenses such as the cost of obtaining medical records and other reports, making photocopies and more.
NOTE: While many law firms in VIC charge clients for disbursements if a claim does not succeed, Henry Carus + Associates does not.
Is a ‘No Win – No Fee Agreement’ the Same as a Contingency Fee Agreement?
No. Contingency fees are calculated as a percentage of your recovery, not the legal costs. Lawyers in Victoria are not allowed to charge contingency fees in personal injury matters.
As mentioned above, a ‘no win – no fee agreement’ is a conditional agreement to defer paying legal costs. If your claim succeeds, your fees will be based on the actual work done, an uplift fee, and the extent of disbursements incurred to achieve the success, and such is not based on the compensation received.
Speak to a No Win No Fee Lawyer Today
At Henry Carus + Associates, we believe You Deserve More. This commitment to maximising your compensation is apparent in the straightforward fee agreement we provide our clients.
When you hire Henry Carus + Associates, you can rest assured that you will know exactly what you will be charged and when. You pay nothing upfront, and you will only be responsible for our legal costs if our no win no fee lawyers obtain a successful outcome for you.