What Is A Conditional Fee Agreement?

In this guide, we’ll explore the question “what is a Conditional Fee Agreement?”. A Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) may be sometimes referred to as a No Win No Fee agreement.

What is a conditional fee agreement

What is a conditional fee agreement?

In certain aspects of everyday life, for example, in work, on the roads and in public places we are owed a duty of care. This is applied to keep us as safe as possible. In cases where you’ve suffered harm due to someone else breaching their duty of care towards you, you may look to seek compensation by making a personal injury claim. A CFA is a way of funding legal representation to help you do so. 

An Introduction To Conditional Fee Agreements

Our guide aims to provide you with information on the costs that are usually associated with making a claim with a solicitor and how a CFA could benefit you financially. Additionally, we’ll look at the various stages involved in making a claim, including:

  • Determining whether you’re eligible to claim
  • The evidence you may need to obtain to support your claim
  • How your claim may be valued
  • How long you’ll have to start your claim

Furthermore, we’ll explore the different outcomes of a claim and what might happen depending on whether your claim is successful or not. 

However, if you have any questions while you’re reading, you can speak to a member of our advisory team at any point. You can also get in touch if you would like to speak to an advisor about starting a claim. See below for our contact details, or read on for more information.

Get In Touch With Our Team

Our team is available 24/7 to take your queries and provide further clarification on anything you’re unsure about. You can get in touch with us on the following details:

  • Call us on 020 3870 4868
  • Speak to an advisor at a time convenient to you by requesting a call-back
  • Chat with an advisor now and get instant advice using the live chat feature below

Services And Information

  1. Everything You Need To Know About What A Conditional Fee Agreement Is
  2. What Is A Conditional Fee Agreement?
  3. When And How Did Conditional Fee Agreements Change?
  4. How Does A Conditional Fee Agreement Work?
  5. Could I Pull Out Of Making My Claim?
  6. Conditional Fee Agreement Compensation Calculator
  7. What Happens If Your Claim Is Successful?
  8. What Happens If Your Claim Is Unsuccessful?
  9. Is There Anything You Can Do If The Defendant Does Not Pay?
  10. What Is The Difference Between A Damages Based Agreement And A Conditional Fee Agreement?
  11. How Long Do You Have To Start A Personal Injury Claim?
  12. Conditional Fee Agreements And No Win No Fee Claims
  13. Useful Pages
  14. FAQs

Everything You Need To Know About What A Conditional Fee Agreement Is

Accidents such as a slip, trip or fall in the workplace, an allergic reaction in a public restaurant or a head-on collision in a road traffic accident could lead to you being injured or made ill because of a breach of duty of care. If this is the case, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries.

In order to do so, you must be able to prove that you were owed a duty of care by someone and that duty of care was breached, which resulted in you suffering harm. For instance:

  • Slipping on a wet floor due to the failure to provide wet floor signs for staff to put down after mopping a floor.
  • Suffering an allergic reaction after a restaurant failed to make you aware of one of the 14 main allergens in a dish.
  • Sustaining a fractured skull in a head-on collision with another car after they failed to check the roads were clear before overtaking on a narrow road.

You may be hesitant about putting forward a claim on your own and recognise the benefits of legal representation when making a claim. However, hiring a lawyer to handle your claim in the traditional way could mean that you incur large legal fees with no guarantee that your claim will be a success. This is where a CFA could help. 

If you have any questions at any point, you can contact our team using the number at the top of the page. Otherwise, read on for more information about how a CFA could help you. 

What Is A Conditional Fee Agreement?

A CFA is an agreement between you and a legal representative that provides cover for the legal costs in the event that the claim succeeds. In this section, we’ll look at them in more detail, as well as a similar type of agreement called Damages Based Agreements.

What is a CFA solicitor?

A CFA solicitor is someone who operates on a No Win No Fee basis. They only take a success fee if they win the claim for you. This means that they are taking the risk that they won’t be paid at all if your claim isn’t successful.

They’re also accepting that there will be a delay in them receiving payment when representing you in this way. Whereas usually a solicitor would be paid throughout the claims process, a CFA solicitor will not receive payment until the end of a successful case. 

What is a Damages Based Agreement?

A Damages Based Agreement or Contingency Fee Agreement is where the solicitor and the client agree on an amount that needs to be achieved in order for the solicitor to receive payment. 

When And How Did Conditional Fee Agreements Change?

Prior to 2013, when making a personal injury claim under a CFA, the defendant would be the one to pay the claimant solicitor’s legal fees and compensation. However, the changes made as per the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013 (CFAO) meant that the defendant was no longer responsible for paying all the legal costs for the claimant. The claimant now has to make up some of their solicitor’s fee in respect to a success fee. 

The problem for solicitors is there is no guarantee of being paid and facing costs they have paid out on the case. 

How Does A Conditional Fee Agreement Work?

The payment of a success fee in a CFA is dependant on whether the claim is successful. If the claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay the success fee.

Law firms will often charge 25%, which is the maximum they can deduct from your compensation. However, here at UK Law, we have a panel of solicitors that can offer terms lower depending on your personal injury claim.

For more information on this, you can speak to our team on the number above about making a claim with a solicitor from our panel today.

Could I Pull Out Of Making My Claim?

It is possible to withdraw your claim before it settles. However, in doing so, you may be expected to pay for any work done up to that point. This is because, when you pull out of the claim, you remove the solicitor’s chance of covering their costs.

However, if you’re working with a No Win No Fee solicitor, all the terms and conditions will be explained within the Conditional Fee Agreement you will sign before you begin your case.

Conditional Fee Agreement Compensation Calculator

Personal injury claims compensation comprises general damages and special damages. General damages compensate you for the injury you sustained and the impact it’s had on your quality of life.

The severity of the injury is considered as well as any long-term effects and how long recovery is likely to take. When working this out, a document called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) might be used alongside medical evidence to value your injury. These are guideline compensation brackets based on awards that have been made for general damages in the past. However, these are just guideline claim values; the amount of compensation you actually receive could vary.

Some claims may also include special damages. You could claim compensation for special damages if you’ve suffered any financial losses. These might include: 

  • Lost earnings from being unable to work
  • Care costs, either for yourself or someone dependant on you
  • Home or vehicle adaptations if you’ve been left with a disability and need these to cope

There are personal injury claims calculators that you can use to work out how much your claim is worth. However, we have chosen to illustrate potential compensation awards in the form of a table below detailing some injuries you could claim for and how much you could get for them. 

Claimant InjuryOther detailsCompensation Amount
ShoulderSerious shoulder dislocation alongside other symptoms such as damage to the brachial plexus which causes shoulder and neck pain.£11,980 to £18,020
ShoulderModerate shoulder injury such as frozen shoulder which affects movement and causes discomfort.£7,410 to £11,980
WristA simple colles' fractureIn the region of £6,970
WristA minor undisplaced wrist fracture£3,310 to £4,450
ChestFractured ribs resulting in serious painUp to £3,710
HipSevere: (iii) Fractured hip that results in a hip replacement that may need future surgery.£36,770 to £49,270
HipLesser injuries: (ii) A minor soft tissue injury that results in a full recovery.Up to £3,710
FootSevere fracture of both heels or both feet that need ongoing treatment.£39,390 to £65,710
FootA ruptured ligament in the foot that causes ongoing symptoms.Up to £12,900
ToeInjuries that result in all the toes being amputated.£34,270 to £52,620
ToeSerious toe injuries such as multiple fractures of two or more toes.£9,010 to £12,900

The figures above are provided by the JCG but should only be used as a guide.  Furthermore, these figures only relate to general damages and special damages are not included in the table. 

What evidence do I need?

In order to support your claim, you will need to provide evidence to support your claim. For instance:

  • CCTV footage, witness details, police reports, pictures of the accident and traffic camera footage could all be used to show that you were not at fault for the accident.
  • Medical records showing the injuries you sustained, the severity of them, the diagnosis you were given, the medication or treatment plan prescribed and actioned.
  • Receipts to show any care costs, travel expenses, medical bills or payslips to show any loss of earnings, loss of attendance bonus, loss of pension.

For more information on how much you could be owed in compensation, speak to a member of our team today. You could receive a free, no-obligation valuation of your claim.

What Happens If Your Claim Is Successful?

If you have used a No Win No Fee solicitor and your claim is successful, you’ll be required to pay a success fee. However, this is capped at 25%, which is the maximum amount that a solicitor can take. It will be deducted from your compensation settlement. The defendant’s insurer will pay the rest of the legal fees of your solicitor. 

The unsuccessful party in the claim will usually pay any expenses that your solicitor has incurred in pursuing your claim. Things that could be paid back by the losing party include:

  • Barrister fees
  • The cost of an independent medical examination to assess your injuries
  • Travel expenses

What Happens If Your Claim Is Unsuccessful?

If your claim is unsuccessful and you’re working with a No Win No Fee solicitor, you won’t be asked to pay the success fees. Furthermore, the defendant’s insurer will not pay any of the claimant’s solicitors fees either in unsuccessful cases. 

However, there are some specific circumstances where you might be asked to pay legal fees. For instance:

  • If your claim was found to be fraudulent, or you had no grounds to claim.
  • If your claim exploited the court and its procedures
  • You acted dishonestly during the process of the claim
  • You only made a claim to financially benefit someone else.

Is There Anything You Can Do If The Defendant Does Not Pay?

In some cases, the defendant may fail or refuse to pay your compensation.

If this happens, you could ask the court to take further action. This is called enforcing the judgement and can include a:

  • Warrant of control– this is where enforcement agents try to collect the money the defendant owes you. They can also take goods from the defendant’s home and business to sell at auction to recover your funds.
  • Attachment of earnings order- this is where the defendant’s employer deducts an amount from their earnings and sends it to a collections office. This money is then sent to you.
  • Third-party debt order- this is where the defendant’s bank account or building society is frozen, and you’re paid the money you’re owed from the account. 
  • Charging order- this is an order which prevents the defendant from selling any of their assets without paying you what you’re owed.

You must ask the court to take this action; they will not do so without being instructed by you.

What Is The Difference Between A Damages Based Agreement And A Conditional Fee Agreement?

A Damages Based Agreement or Contingency Fee Agreement and a Conditional Fee Agreement CFA are similar in that you pay a success fee should your solicitor win your claim. 

There are differences in the nature of the success fee between a Damages Fee Agreement and a Conditional Fee Agreement. For instance, the maximum success fee you’ll pay when making a personal injury claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement is 25%. However, with a Damages Based Agreement the higher the amount recovered the higher the fee the solicitor is able to take.  

How Long Do You Have To Start A Personal Injury Claim?

For personal injury claims, you generally have three years to start your claim. This time limit may either start from:

  • The date you were in the accident
  • The date you gained knowledge of someone else’s failing leading or contributing to the accident (referred to as the “date of knowledge”. 

However, there are certain claims where this time limit may differ. For instance, if you were under the age of 18 when you were injured, you would still have three years to claim. However, the limitation period would not start until you turn 18. Furthermore, as an alternative to claiming for themselves, a parent, guardian or solicitor could act on their behalf if they successfully applied to be a litigation friend. A litigation friend can claim on your behalf at any point until you turn 18.

Additionally, those who lack the mental capacity to claim can also be represented by a litigation friend. While they’re unable to pursue their own claim, the time limit is suspended. The three-year limitation period starts again in the event that they regain their mental capacity. 

We understand that it can be difficult to know if you’re still within the time limit to claim, as there are several exceptions to the general claims time limit. If so, you can speak to our team to find out how long you have left to claim. They’ll be able to let you know if any of the exceptions apply to your specific situation.

Conditional Fee Agreements And No Win No Fee Claims

If you’d like to make a personal injury claim using a No Win No Fee solicitor, you could work with a solicitor from our panel. They all handle claims on this basis, meaning if they are unsuccessful with your claim, you won’t be asked to pay your solicitor. 

If they are successful, you will pay the success fee from your compensation settlement. However, the fee is capped, and your solicitor will make you aware of the fee before going ahead with your claim. Additionally, you can avoid upfront costs and any ongoing costs that build up while your claim is being processed. 

If this is something you’d be interested in, you can enquire with our team. Firstly, they can assess whether you have a valid claim. If you do, they can connect you with a solicitor from our panel. They can then guide you through the next steps of the claims process. 

Alternatively, if you’re not ready to make a claim, they can simply provide more information. So why not get in touch with us? You can do so on the following:

  • Call us on 020 3870 4868
  • Speak to an advisor at a time convenient to you by requesting a call-back
  • Chat with an advisor now and get instant advice using the live chat feature below

Useful Pages

See the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 for further details on the costs associated with legal representation.

See how the Whiplash Reform Programme might affect your compensation for road traffic accident claims.

Visit the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents for more details on accident prevention.

For more information on personal injury compensation, our guide could help.

See our guide on getting more money from an injury claim.

Visit our guide for more information on what to do if your whiplash claim is refused.

FAQs

In this section, we have provided further details on the success fee involved in conditional fee agreements. 

Who pays the success fee?

A success fee is paid to a No Win No Fee solicitor if the case is won. The success fee will come out of your compensation should your claim be successful. Before 2013, a success fee may have been paid by the defendant’s insurer. 

What are collective conditional fee agreements?

A collective conditional fee agreement has the same principles as a typical CFA. However, it may be taken out on behalf of multiple clients, such as a class action.

 We hope our guide provided you with an answer to the question ‘what is a conditional fee agreement?’. Thank you for taking the time to read. 

Writer AC

Checked by NC