News Article

Solicitors Overcharging with Success Fees

21Jun

Solicitors Overcharging with Success Fees

No Win No Fee claims have enabled many people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford legal fees to hire a solicitor.   No Win No Fee is common in accident and personal injury claims.  What this means is that a solicitor who decides to take on your case will not charge you any fees until they have successfully concluded the case in your favour.  

Once a personal injury case has succeeded, the solicitor will generally be paid their basic costs by the Defendant’s insurance company.   In addition, the solicitor will charge their client a success fee which is usually determined by the complexity or the risk of the case. This means that the solicitor can charge you anything from 0% to 100% of their costs (calculated on an hourly basis) up to a maximum of 25% of your compensation. 

How solicitors calculate the risk in each individual case is not always clear and in recent times it has been suggested that high success fees have been taken without proper consideration of the risks.  This was amply demonstrated in the case of Hampson Hughes solicitors who routinely added a 100% success fee to their personal injury client’s costs, without reference to the risks; something that is not uncommon in legal circles.

Before 2013 the success fee was paid the by Defendant, however the Government changed the rules so that the Claimant is now responsible.  

In the Hampson Hughes cases the Judge found that the uplift for the success fee was not based on individual risk, further there was no evidence that the solicitors had carried out a risk assessment. They simply adopted a 100% success model. 

Have You Been Overcharged?

The ruling by the court on Hampson Hughes vs Herbert may well have profound implications for the personal injury claims sector.  If solicitors have been charging the full amount of fees without justification it could leave them open to litigation themselves.

If you have been charged 100% success fee, and you feel these were unjust, perhaps because the case was very straightforward, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Taking on a solicitor that has already handled your claim and done so successfully may seem a little daunting, but we can help.  

If you have been charged a 100% success fee and the risk that the claim might fail was very small, then contact us for advice.  

At DSM Legal, we can help review your case and give you the advice and guidance you need regarding the fees you were charged on your successful claim.  

We can usually claim our fees from the solicitor if you have been overcharged.

Contact us today to find out whether you have the basis for a claim and what you should do next.

 

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