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March 5, 2020

No win no fee: how does it work?

Natasha Hall law is a leading Wirral no win no fee law firm.  We’ve put together this simple guide to help you understand what no win no fee is, how it works and what the risks are.

What is No win no fee?

No win no fee relates to claims of personal injury caused by someone else’s negligence or negligence by a medical practitioner

Having a no win no fee agreement with your solicitor takes the risk out of making a claim for compensation if you’ve been injured in an accident that was not your fault or as a result of negligence.

If your solicitor is not successful in helping you make your compensation claim, you will not pay them a fee. If they are successful, you’ll pay a percentage of the compensation that you are awarded, to cover the costs of their time and expertise. 

“If your solicitor wins your case, you pay them a fee for their time and expertise. If they fail. You don't.”

What types of cases does no win no fee relate to?

During an initial consultation with your solicitor, they will determine if you have a case to make a no win no fee personal injury, medical negligence or dental negligence claim. 

In most cases the claim will be made when you've suffered an injury or accident that was not your fault and you wish to make a claim against the defendant (the party or parties that you hold responsible).  Your solicitor will advise you as to whether you have a good chance of making a successful claim or not.

How does no win no fee work?

Your solicitor will create an agreement, called a conditional fee agreement, with you, that ensures you have no legal fees to pay if your claim is not successful. 

If your claim is successful, you will usually be awarded compensation and the solicitor will take a percentage of this to cover the costs associated with their time and expertise. 

If you are not awarded compensation, your solicitor will not be paid by you.

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The agreement you have with your solicitor will cover things like 

  • Legal fees
  • Medical reports
  • Court fees

During an initial consultation your solicitor should be able to tell you if you have a case to make a no win no fee claim. 

The conditional fee agreement

The agreement between you and your solicitor is called the Conditional Fee Agreement and it allows you to make a claim for personal injury, medical or dental negligence with no need for upfront legal fees. You would only pay the solicitor or law firm if your claim is successful. If your claim is unsuccessful you will not pay the fees.

Please note, if unsuccessful, there may be some fees that you are liable to pay depending on the nature of your agreement. 

Are there any risks with no win no fee?

no win no fee pros and cons


  • No need to pay legal fees upfront. You pay a % of any compensation awarded to your solicitor if the case is successful.
  • Your solicitor wants to be paid! They'll give you plenty of advice up front and let you know how likely your case is to be a success.
  • Choose the right no win no fee solictor
    A personal injury expert will guide you through the whole process and you'll stand a great chance of being successful.


  • You may be liable to pay fees
    If you decide to abandon the claim after legal work has begun
  • You may be liable to pay fees if your claim proves to be fraudulent, false or you refuse to cooperate fully as part of your claim.

  • If your no win no fee claim is unsuccessful
    The defendant has the right to claim their court and solicitors fees from you. 

What happens once you sign a conditional fee agreement with your solicitor?

Your solicitor will begin gathering evidence and details to help support your claim including any witness statements, CCTV footage and medical records, as well as the opinions of experts in that field.

The next stage is to contact the insurance company or legal representative for the the defendant (the person or party you are making the claim against).

Do I need to go to court?

In most cases, compensation settlements are awarded outside of court and this can save both parties money and time.   After reviewing the evidence, the defendant may wish to negotiate a settlement out of court and your solicitor can advise you as to how good this settlement is.

What happens if your no win no fee case is successful?

If you win your claim, you will be awarded damages. We have a separate guide to medical negligence claims processes which outlines both general damages and special damages that you may be awarded.

A guide to medical negligence cases

Find out more about the different types of damages you may be entitles to. 

General damages can help you recover from injuries, while special damages include things such as financial losses such as missed mortgage payments. In most cases these will be paid by the defendant's insurance company. Your solicitor will then be paid a fee, which is deducted from your compensation total.

What happens if you lose a no win no fee case?

The appealing thing about no win no fee solicitors is that if your claim is not successful, then you will not have to pay any legal fees. Dependent on the nature of your Conditional Fee Agreement, you may be liable to pay fees if you abandon your claim or if the claim proves to be fraudulent. 

What's the catch with no win no fee?

Your solicitor will be able to explain what is and what is not included in no win no fee claim.

For example, some no win no fee claims only refer to the solicitors fees and do not cover any costs for things like medical experts and the additional barrister fees or any additional solicitors who may be involved in your claim. Therefore, make sure you're fully aware of the terms and conditions of your agreement before the claim commences .

Can I pull out of a no win no fee claim?

If you pull out of a no win no fee claim under the terms of your conditional fee agreement, you may be liable to pay legal fees for work done up to that point. Your solicitor should be able to explain this to you at the start of any claim.


Is no win no fee a good idea?

The short answer is yes. No win no fee allows you to fund your claim without needing to front up the costs involved with legal advice and may also cover the cost of extra medical opinion, barristers fees, other solicitor fees that may otherwise occur outside of no win no fee cases.  So the agreement makes sense for the solicitor, who gets paid for their expertise and also for you, the claimant, who gets compensation to help with medical bills, as well as any losses that may have incurred as a result of your injury.

Are no win no fee solicitors any good?

Choosing a no win no fee solicitor is the same as choosing any solicitor. You want to be assured that they have a proven track record of successful no win no fee claims. It's always worth getting a free consultation with your solicitor first, as they'll be able to guide you through the whole process, allowing you to make an informed decision as to whether to instruct them or not.

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