Hudgell Solicitors will provide you with transparent and clear advice on the costs of legal action and finding the method of funding that is right for you.
In the Courts of England and Wales, the general rule is that the loser of the court case pays the costs of the winner. These costs are separate from the damages or compensation awarded by the court. Funding options that may be available to you:
Funding your case by accessing legal aid means the costs of your case will be funded (wholly or partly) by public funds. Legal aid is only available for limited categories of law. Where it is available, you may be eligible if you have limited financial means and a strong case. You can check if you are eligible for legal aid by visiting the Government’s website https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid . In any event, we will advise you whether you fall within the scope of the legal aid scheme when you make an initial enquiry.
If your case relates to a death in custody, exceptional funding may be available even if you earn more than the legal aid financial eligibility limit and have savings.
Conditional fee agreements (CFAs)
These agreements are often called “No Win, No Fee”. If you do win your case most of the costs can be recovered from your opponent. If you lose your case you will only be liable for your own legal costs to any limited extent agreed beforehand, as long as you keep to the terms of our agreement.
If you win your case the law does allow Hudgell solicitors to charge an additional “success fee” calculated as a percentage of the basic costs. This “success fee” is not recoverable from your opponent and if we are charging a ‘success fee’ you will have to meet it from your own pocket or from damages. There are regulations in place which limit the maximum amount of success fee that can be charged.
In some circumstances, if you lose you may be liable to pay your opponent’s legal costs, but it may also be possible to buy insurance to protect against this risk.
Our specialist solicitors will discuss all options available to you and if we enter a CFA with you, we will advise you at the outset about anything you may have to pay.
Legal expenses insurance
These insurance policies are usually attached to other policies you may hold such as household, travel or motor insurance, for a small annual fee. Insurance cover may also be attached to credit card agreements, or as a benefit attached to bank accounts. A legal expenses policy will cover costs in the event of a case losing but it does not cover all the costs of the claim if the case is successful. You need to tell your solicitor about any possibility that you may already have insurance.
Trade union funding
If you are a member of a trade union, they may run a legal advice and assistance scheme which will allow you to obtain advice from an approved solicitor. As a member of a trade union, you will probably be entitled to a free initial interview to decide whether you have a case which is likely to succeed. Your union may then fund the whole of the case for you and there will be no risk that you will have to pay the costs.
You may decide to instruct us on a private retainer basis. We would require an upfront payment from you and further payments at regular intervals throughout the time of your case.
If your case is successful – you would not be required to pay a success fee as, you would under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Our solicitors would work to recover your costs and disbursements from the defendant. We would advise you to buy insurance, to protect against the risk of losing, when you may become liable to pay your opponent’s legal costs. Dependent on the arrangement we have with you payment of some or, all the insurance premium may be required, if successful with your case.
In the event that the defendants are unable to pay all of the costs, you would be liable for any shortfall. If your case was unsuccessful and we were required to close your file of papers you would remain responsible for the cost of any work carried out on your behalf. This would cover up to that date and any costs you are ordered to pay the defendant should you not have insurance cover.