These agreements are called conditional cost agreements. What in fact does this mean and what exposure does a client have who engages a no win no fee lawyer for compensation services?
Not All Cost Agreements Are The Same!
The client might initially think that there is no exposure whatsoever to a lawyer whom they engage in a no win no fee basis but this is incorrect.
Please be aware that not all no-win no fee cost agreements are the same. In fact a very different situation could occur whereby you are exposed to many thousands of dollars of crippling legal expenses even though you signed a no win no fee agreement whereby you are sued for certain additional costs outside the no-win no fee specific arrangements.
Unlike many legal firms, when Gerard Malouf and Partners state no win no fee it means exactly that! You don’t have to pay for any professional legal costs of the solicitor, barrister or any experts such as motor vehicle accident reconstruction specialists, accountants, expert specialist doctors in medico legal law and/or any other form of disbursements including court fees.
Generally most firms offering no win no fee basically only cover their legal fees and not the disbursements as mentioned above. In other words money spent by most law firms from their pocket such as court fees, medical reports & barristers fees often adding up to figures in excess of $10,000 are not subject to the no win no fee policy and can be recovered from you!
Indeed one of the major law firms in Australia promoting itself in compensation law has this policy that will cost you money.
However Gerard Malouf and Partners no win no fee lawyers gives an absolute watertight written guarantee that no expenses incurred by our lawyers for the client including professional fees of our law firm, barrister, court filing fees, medical report fees and all expenses such as photocopying etc will never be paid by the client unless the claim is successful. Of course there are a few conditions such as being truthful.
What is the definition of success?
This is another point for careful consideration when signing a no win no fee claim agreement. Be careful of how other law firms define success as they could manipulate the result in their favour by suggesting any award no matter the size of the amount or verdicts for the defendant or costs award for the lawyer is a success.
Gerard Malouf and Partners are the only firm in Australia to place in writing our guarantee that we will reduce our costs in the event of a poor result and the fact that will reduce our costs if you are genuinely dissatisfied. We have absolute faith in our professionalism!
Matters important to consider when signing a no win no fee cost agreement and the law society protocols that lawyers should abide by include:
- The lawyer must provide in writing circumstances that could constitute a successful outcome,
- They must provide an outline of what disbursement you will be liable to pay in the event of a loss,
- Consider whether the lawyer includes an uplift fee if successful as occurs in some commercial matters,
- The cost agreement must be clear and plain in language,
- There should be a cooling off period of not less than five days after signing the documentation,
- There must be a statement that the client has been informed of his or her rights to seek independent legal advice before entering the agreement and be aware of the option of challenging the legal bill of costs at the conclusion of the agreement.
Gerard Malouf & Partners the fair No Win No Fee Lawyers. Simple & clear cost agreements where you have a written guarantee to seek reduction of the costs where genuinely dissatisfied.