A CFA or Conditional Fee Agreement is in essence a legal funding agreement between your lawyer/ solicitor and yourself where you pay your solicitor ’s fees only if your claim is successful and after you’ve received the compensation due to you. The payment is in fact made from this compensation, which means you pay only when you have the money in your account. Under this arrangement, you are not left with the bill for legal fees if your case is unsuccessful.
How Does The CFA Work For You?
Under normal circumstances (without a CFA), when you approach a solicitor to file a case on your behalf, they would require you to pay an upfront fee to cover the man hours and paper work involved just to put together all the facts of the case. The upfront fee can be quite substantial and that’s only the initial amount. Depending on the case and the law firm’s terms of service, you would then be required to pay the remainder in instalments as the case progresses or when the case is wrapped up. The huge downside to this is you have to pay whether you win or lose the case.
A Conditional Fee Agreement is different. It offers personal injury victims a risk-free route for pursuing justice and claiming compensation for their injury and the resultant losses, generally known as No Win No Fee. When you sign a CFA, you do not have to pay your personal injury solicitor any upfront fees nor do you pay anything when your case is in progress. You only pay all legal fees after the case is closed and ONLY IF your claim has been successful AND you’ve received the compensation. Both conditions must be met.
How Does This Work For The Solicitor ?
Before taking on a case on a CFA basis, personal injury solicitors will first go to great lengths to do a detailed risk analysis of your case to determine your chances of winning. They will then only agree to sign a CFA if their evaluation shows that you have a strong case and have an almost 100% chance of winning compensation.
Benefits Of A CFA For You And Your Solicitor
A CFA stands to benefit both you and your solicitor. You can avail of the best personal injury solicitor ’s services without being out of pocket while the case is being fought in court.
Personal injury solicitors usually only agree to conditional fee agreements after evaluating the merits of a case so their risk is minimal but the potential payout can be tremendous. If you’ve got a strong case, you and your solicitor could stand to make a substantial amount of compensation. The small risk is worth it.
What Details Need To Be Included In A CFA?
A Conditional Fee Agreement must specify the following details:
- The specific proceedings or parts of the proceedings that the CFA relates to.
- Details of how and when the solicitor ’s fees and other expenses related to the case have to be paid.
- Details of the exact amount payable under various circumstances.
Key Points To Keep In Mind Regarding CFAS
- A CFA is not just a casual, oral agreement between you and your solicitor . It is a written agreement that is legally binding, which features a detailed explanation of all clauses.
- It is important to make sure that there should be no grey areas in a Conditional Fee Agreement. This document should state very clearly whether you are liable to pay a fixed fee if you win the case or whether you are liable to pay a percentage from the compensation you receive.
- The CFA must be outlined and drafted up before officially instructing your solicitor to take up your case so that you have an opportunity to decide whether you want to go ahead or whether you want to check out another solicitor .
- The ‘success fee’ percentage should be decided upon at this stage and the agreed upon percentage should be mentioned in the CFA.
Although most solicitors will have almost similar terms and conditions in their CFAs, there will be a few differences so make sure you read through it before you sign the document.