One of the biggest reformation in recent years has been to open up the rules applicable to legal funding in England & Wales.
Historically, access to justice (in respect of commercial or non-family civil claims) was restricted to your ability to pay or (some years ago) a complicated application for Legal Aid, where the state funded your legal advice and assistance.
This worked quite well but was costly to the taxpayer and whilst the principle was sound, the Legal Aid system was vulnerable to abuse and was quickly withdrawn for commercial litigants some time ago.
From the 1990s, a resolution to this was to permit “no win no fee” agreements, referred to as Conditional Fee Agreements (“CFAs”). A Conditional Fee Agreement provided a contractual arrangement with a client and a solicitor such that the solicitor would receive a premium on his/her fees if the client’s case was successful (as “success” normally meant that the other side paid such costs) but if the case was not successful then the solicitor would charge no fees.
Please see our webpage with deals with Conditional Fee Agreements.
More recently the law has been altered to prohibit the recovery of some of the legal fees due under Conditional Fee Agreements. The premiums due under such arrangements are no longer recoverable following the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (“LASPO”) which, amongst many other legal changes, prohibited the recovery or any premiums as a legal cost payable to solicitors under a Conditional Fee Agreement.
Instead, Parliament has encouraged alternative forms of legal funding, most commonly where the solicitor (potentially together with a third party litigation funder ) bears the risk and interest in the sums claimed. This is a principle that has existed for many years in other legal jurisdictions, for example the USA, and is commonly referred to as a Contingency Agreement, although in the UK it is referred to as a Damages Based Agreement.
There are a number of arrangements that a client can enter into with his/her solicitor to achieve certainty in relation to their individual needs. Please visit our webpages which deal with the following alternatives:
- fixed Fees
- blended Rates
- conditional Fee Arrangements
- discounted Conditional Fee Arrangements
- damages Based Agreements
- fixed Fee Retainers
However, a solicitor (as with any other business) does need to ensure that his/her work is balanced and cannot survive solely on instructions which continuously tie up the only commodity s/he has to sell, i.e. time. Accordingly, to remain solvent and trading, a firm of solicitors will normally only permit a certain proportion of their clients to enter into such arrangements and therefore there is often the need to involved third parties who may be able to assist with such legal funding.
The interest of the funder would be the potential benefit to them of sharing in the outcome of that party’s claim or defence (in the event they were unsuccessful). Please see our page on Third Party Funding which describes these arrangements in more detail.
At Francis Wilks & Jones we are extremely familiar with all types of funding models and are also receptive to any alternate proposals. We have access to a wide range of litigation funders who may be able to assist you and have a comprehensive experience of alternate litigation funding models, appropriate to your needs.
Please call any member of our commercial litigation team for your consultation now. Alternatively email us with your enquiry at and we will call you back at a time convenient to you.