Conditional fee arrangements
'No win no fee' has become a well-known phrase in the legal services world. They are sometimes called less-catchy things like conditional fee arrangements, or CFAs. They are pretty common in particular for personal injury cases.
If you have an agreement like this and win your case, you will still have to pay your lawyer's fees and often a success fee as well. All the details will be set down in the agreement. However you will usually then be able to recover your lawyer's fees from the losing side, and the success fee will be deducted from any damages (or compensation) you are awarded.
This success fee cannot be more than 25% of any compensation you receive.
Contingency fee agreement
A similar type of arrangement that you might hear about is a contingency fee agreement. Under this type of payment system you agree that your lawyer will receive a percentage of the compensation awarded to you if you win the case. Sometimes you can recover all of your lawyer’s costs from the losing side.
Before you agree costs
Whichever agreement you decide to use with your lawyer, the most important thing is to be totally clear about what you may need to pay, and when and how your lawyer plans to recover their expenses. Don't be afraid to ask a lawyer to re-explain a cost agreement before you agree to sign it.
For more information about these types of arrangements in personal injury cases take a look at the Association of Personal Injury Lawyer’s guide.
You can also find information about the pitfalls to avoid with these types of costs arrangements on the Legal Ombudsman’s website.