No Win No Fee

Last Updated 15 September 2021

The concept of ‘no win no fee’ also known as no foal no fee is common practice amongst solicitors in Ireland. This fee arrangement means that a solicitor will not charge for their service if a client’s case is unsuccessful — if you do not win your case, you do not have to pay your legal fees. On the other hand, if your case is successful either by way of settlement outside of court or in front of a judge in court, then legal fees will apply.

Please note, “no win no fee” is not available in Northern Ireland, as a solicitor is prohibited from making their fees contingent upon the outcome of a case.

What is the purpose of a no win no fee agreement?

The purpose of a no win no fee agreement is to give you the legal power to pursue a claim regardless of your financial state or legal experience, should you need to make a claim or defend yourself against claims made against you. ‘No win no fee’ or ‘No foal no fee’ are well-known terms when it comes to litigation services.

If you have been injured in an accident on the road, at work or in a public place as a result of another person, you may wish to pursue a personal injury claim against the person responsible.

What Is a No Win No Fee Solicitor’s Agreement?

Some Irish solicitors provide a fee agreement known as a no win no fee solicitor’s agreement. Under this type of solicitor’s agreement, the solicitor will take the case on a no win no fee basis. The solicitor will not charge if a successful resolution is not achieved. The successful resolution may come about by either a settlement outside of court or by appearing in front of a Judge in Court.

Why Is a No Win No Fee Solicitor’s Agreement Important?

A no win, no fee solicitor’s agreement is important because it allows those who are injured to pursue a claim without the concern of how they will pay their solicitor in advance for their services. The solicitor is paid only if they successfully resolve the claim. The fees received by the solicitor varies for each case because every case has its own facts. Scheduling an appointment with a solicitor to discuss your potential claim is one of the best ways for you to receive an estimate on what pursuing your claim may cost.

Are There Rules for No Win No Fee Solicitors?

No win, no fee agreements are legal in Ireland, but solicitors who use them must follow certain rules. These rules explain what solicitors may and may not do to advertise their services. Solicitors who offer no win, no fee agreements may not openly advertise them. Solicitors who offer these agreements and directly advertise them are violating the Solicitors Acts.

Common Worries

Common worries and often the first questions we are asked are:

How much will this cost?

Solicitor’s fees will vary depending on the complexity of the case and a solicitor can only give you an estimate once they have examined your case and spoken with you.

Do you operate on a ‘no win no fee basis’?

Solicitors can enter into no win no fee agreements with clients, however, they are strictly prohibited from advertising no win no fee services.

Regulations behind No Win No Fee Solicitors

The Law Society of Ireland is the body that regulates all practising solicitors in Ireland. The regulations explicitly state how a solicitor can advertise their services.

Is it legal to engage with a No Win No Fee Solicitor?

It is perfectly legal to enter into a no win no fee arrangement with a solicitor and you will find that most solicitors in Ireland will operate in this way.

Conditions of a No Win No Fee Agreement

Conditions of a no win no fee agreement will vary from solicitor to solicitor, therefore it is important that you speak with your solicitor about all aspects of your case before moving forward.

In some cases, a no win no fee agreement may stipulate that even if your case is unsuccessful you may still have an outlay to pay (court stamp duty, medical costs, for example). Further to this is that you may also be liable to pay the other sides legal fees if your case is unsuccessful.

Choosing the right personal injury solicitor for you

Overall, you want to know that the solicitor you have chosen to represent you in your personal injury claim* is one who is experienced, knowledgeable and one who follows the Law Society guidelines for practising solicitors.

No win no fee is the term used to describe how solicitors take on a case where they pay the costs of the litigation. Solicitors who operate on this basis pay for the medical reports, stamp duty, experts fees and all other costs associated with the case.

In the vast majority of cases, clients would not be in a position to fund the cost of litigation and thus it is quite a common practice for specialised personal injury firms to operate on a “no win no fee” basis.

The Law Society has strict rules in place regarding advertising and these prohibit any solicitor from advertising their services as no win no fee.

It is important that you clarify with your solicitor before instructing them that they do operate on a no win no fee basis and ensure that this is also put in writing to you.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Expert for Your Claim

Because many solicitors and experts offer no win, no fee agreements, it’s important that you do a bit of research so that you choose the right one. Experience in similar claims is important. You want a legal team that has a positive track record for successfully resolving similar claims.

Also, the conditions of a no win, no fee agreement can differ amongst legal providers. One thing that you want to ensure is what happens if the you are not successful in resolving your claim. Some solicitors say they are no win, no fee and still expect you to pay for certain expenses such as the court stamp duty or your medical costs. So, it is up to you to make sure that you read and understand the agreement offered to you. Do not sign it if it makes you uncomfortable.

You should make sure that the solicitor follows the Law Society of Ireland’s Regulations. If you review them, even briefly, you may notice whether the solicitor follow them. If they don’t, you should strongly consider choosing another solicitor.

Review the success record of the solicitor. How many claims like yours have they successfully resolved? How many of those involved out of court settlement? How many involved appearing in front of the Court? What is the average amount awarded for those claims?

Arrange a meeting with the solicitor and consider how you’re treated and how the staff and solicitor speaks to you about your potential claim. Do you feel welcome and valued? Do you feel as if the solicitor and staff listened to you? Did you understand the concepts mentioned? Did they use big terms and make you feel uncomfortable? It’s important for you to work with a solicitor who makes you feel comfortable and who explains things to you in plain English. If the solicitor you speak with makes you uncomfortable, don’t sign an agreement. Talk to other solicitors until you find the one who you feel you get on with best.