No Win No Fee agreements have their positive and negative points. Before entering into any No Win No Fee agreement, take your time to research the potential opportunities and threats associated with this payment agreement.
No Win No Fee agreements differ from state to state. Although we have compiled a useful series of bullet points and frequently asked questions, it is always best to seek the advice of a qualified lawyer before commencing payment agreement..
What is a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement?
No Win No Fee agreements generally apply where the client has limited finances to pay for legal services, and where the lawyer believes there is a good chance of winning the case.
Essentially a No Win No Fee agreement means your lawyer agrees that you only need to pay your legal costs in the case that you ‘win’ your case. Defining what is meant by a win before going any further is crucial. You should also be aware that you are likely to incur outside costs beyond legal fees that you will be required to pay no matter the outcome.
As the lawyer is taking a risk on a No Win No Fee agreement, they are often allowed to pay slightly higher than the usual rate they would charge.
What other costs might I have to pay?
Some of the other costs you might have to consider when entering a No Win No Fee agreement include paying for the other party’s legal costs in case of a loss. Even though you may not need to pay your own lawyer, you may still be out of pocket and have to pay the executor’s legal fees.
Disbursements are items such as photocopying, administrative fees, title searches and barrister fees. They are items associated with your case paid to third parties.
The final type of fees you could expect to pay includes uplift fees. These fees are an additional charge in case you win. These charges are limited to an additional 25% on top of the usual fee in Victoria, though this changes from state to state.
There are no contingency fees allowed in Victoria. If the lawyer incurs damages they are responsible for fronting those costs themselves.
What does a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement include?
A No Win No Fee agreement is made of several key components. The first of these components is an ‘Estimate Total of Costs’. Your lawyer must provide you with an accurate prediction of the total costs before entering any No Win No Fee agreement.
As with most legal agreements, you have a five-business day cooling off period should you change your mind? To end the agreement you simply have to inform your lawyer in writing of your change of mind within the cooling off period. Please be aware you may still be charged for any work the lawyer has done on your case between you signing the agreement and terminating it.
Independent legal advice is a right for all potential clients. If your lawyer does not inform you of your right to independent legal advice the contract may not be valid. This should all be witnessed and signed in writing, to make all things clear.
Lastly, you and your lawyer must come to an agreement about what constitutes a ‘win’. A win could mean many things depending on the case. For example, it could be an out of court settlement, a decision awarding you compensation, or even a settlement offer made by the other side.
It is important to understand a lawyer is entitled to charge you legal fees in certain cases when you do not win, such as when you decide to drop charges for example.
When can you enter into a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement?
No Win No Fee agreements are eligible for all areas of law within Victoria with exception to Family Law and Criminal Law.
Should you want to challenge your legal costs, you may be eligible to challenge them in court. However, this can also be a very time consuming and unsatisfactory process – so make sure to be cautious before entering into a No Win No Fee agreement to begin with.
For further information on No Win No Fee agreements, try reading this blog to find out more. If you are interested Melbourne and interested in a No Win No Fee agreement in regards to Contesting a Will visit the www.willcontesting.com.au website to find out more about Hentys Lawyers and their high quality no win no fee estate litigation services.