Funding of Legal Cases

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Different Ways To Fund A Legal Case

Paying a Solicitor and Barrister Privately

  • Hourly rates of associate Solicitors often exceed £150, while senior partners will charge over £300. Barristers' fees are charged for the whole case - drafting pleadings and court adocacy - but even a short court case would cost several thousand pounds

Receiving full or part legal aid

  • Under the Access to Justice Act 1999, the Community Legal Service (CLS) manages the Community Legal Serivce Fund provided by the government. This fund is capped; there is a fixed amount paid into it, and the government has laid down certain priority areas for the money
  • These include social welfare issues, domestic violence issues, cases involving children's welfare and proceeings against public authorities alleging serious wrongdoing
  • The entitlement to receive public funding is based on a means test, which assesses the claimant's income and captial. To qualify for full legal aid funding, both to cover initial advice and then legal representation in court, the claimant would have to be wholly dependant on social security benefits
  • There is also a merits test to ensure that such funding is only given where the case has a good prospect of success. This takes into account the likely amound of damages that would be awarded. No assistance is avaliable from the CLS in cases involving personal injury or damage to property, conveyancing, probate, boundary disputes or defamation.

Conditional Fee Litigation

  • Conditional fee litigation was first introduced into English law under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, and was greatly extended under the Access to Justice Act 1999. This scheme is commonly referred to as 'no win, no fee' because under it, the lawyers are only paid for their services if the case is won
  • To ensure that money is avaliable to pay the other side's legal costs if the case is lost, lawyers will arange for 'after the event' insurance to be provided, which the claimant will have to pay. This policy then pays the other side if they win, and the premium becomes a part of the claimant's costs payable by the defendant if the claim is successful

Citizens Advice and Law Centres

  • Both of these are free of charge to the public and funded by the CLS.


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