Qualified one way costs shifting

QOCS is the catchy shortened version.

Since 1 April 2013 a new concept has been introduced for personal injury cases. If a Claimant’s case fails the unsuccessful Claimant does not have to pay the legal costs of the successful Defendant, but if the Claimant wins the Defendant pays the Claimant’s legal costs.

That sounds pretty extraordinary as for as long as I can remember the loser in personal injury claims paid the legal costs of the successful party.

So where is the catch? It lies in the qualified bit, which means the concept is not as clear as it first looks. Continue reading “Qualified one way costs shifting”

Changes to personal injury compensation claims

Why are changes coming to personal injury compensation claims?

The insurance industry lobby has won its argument that too many people are claiming compensation or personal injury and that the legal costs they pay are too high. If you do not change the rules insurance for drivers and employers will become even more expensive.

I do not agree with the arguments of the insurance industry but congratulations to them for persuading the politicians. Despite the country facing a major financial crisis the politicians are dedicating huge amounts of time to personal injury compensation claims.

The changes likely are:

  1. Legal aid will be more limited than it is today.
  2. If your lawyer is working under a conditional fee agreement, or no win no fee as it is called, the success fee will no longer be recovered from the other side. If solicitors and barristers want their success fee then the client will be paying it.
  3. If you buy after the event litigation insurance you will pay the premium win, lose or draw. To day you can recover it with your solicitor’s fees, expenses, and success fee.
  4. The reasons for these changes are the insurance industry complains it is costing them too much money, and the politicians believe someone claiming compensation should be at some financial risk.
  5. The risk of a claimant paying the other side’s costs if a case fails is to be limited. There may be no liability to pay those costs at all, or a financial limit may be set, and this may depend on how much money you have. Continue reading “Changes to personal injury compensation claims”

Paying the cost of personal injury claim

Paying the cost of a personal injury claim

Today a claimant bringing a personal injury compensation case can be protected from the risk of paying the other side’s fees if the case goes wrong and you have to pay legal costs. This risk can be covered by legal expenses insurance, trade union support, by having legal aid in the few cases for which it is available, and after the event insurance. Continue reading “Paying the cost of personal injury claim”

How is a personal injury solicitor paid?

How a personal injury solicitor is paid and how to protect yourself from costs awards

How are personal injury solicitors paid?

There should be no mystery about how a personal injury solicitor is paid for the work carried out in your personal injury claim for compensation. You as the client must be given detailed advice.

Please note this page applies to personal injury cases with funding arranged before 1 April 2013. Funding means the agreement as to how you will pay your solicitor and deal with the risk of paying the other side’s legal costs has been finalised. For cases funded beyond 1 April 2013 do read this page for general guidance, but then click here as the law has changed quite significantly.

The basic cost is an hourly rate multiplied by the time spent on your case. Most personal injury solicitors will follow the Guideline Rates set by the Advisory Committee on Costs. These are based on the experience of your solicitor and the cost of practising in the various regions of the country, London being more expensive than Exeter for example .

A solicitor’s bill is made up of a charge for their time, plus VAT, and the expenses incurred on your behalf, known as disbursements. For these purposes I will put all those terms together and call them solicitors costs. Continue reading “How is a personal injury solicitor paid?”

Recovering costs

Recovering costs from the other side

It might surprise you to learn there is no automatic rule which says if you win your case your costs will be paid by the losing side. It happens in the vast majority of cases, but it is not an absolute rule. The practice comes from the affordability of the costs to the losing party, as that party is usually either insured or a trade union member. If there is such financial backing behind a losing party then it is very very likely a costs order will be made against them. Continue reading “Recovering costs”

Conditional fee agreement

Conditional fee agreement

No win no fee

Conditional fee agreement is the proper name for “no win no fee.” It means your own solicitors fees are only payable by you in the event of success. Success is defined in the agreement, but in compensation cases it usually means recovering a compensation payment in your favour. There is a lot to understand. Continue reading “Conditional fee agreement”

Legal aid

Legal aid

Legal aid is a thing of the past in most personal injury cases.

The legal aid system was set up for the right reasons, to allow those who could not afford a solicitor, to use one. If the case was unsuccessful your own solicitor would receive some payment from the legal aid fund, your expenses/disbursements would be paid and you would have no bill to pay. Depending on your financial circumstances you may have paid a contribution towards your legal aid, but the contribution was nothing like the full legal bill. Continue reading “Legal aid”