No-Win-No-Fee Problems & Tactics Explained!

What Client's Should Know Before Agreeing to a NWNF

If you are looking for a no win no fee lawyer(NWNF) do not fall for the tricky marketing. We explain how to assess the risks.

NWNF does not mean you do not have any financial risks! You do! We explain the benefits and advantages below in more detail. No win no fee arrangements cannot be used in certain areas of the law, such as family law.

How Does No Win No Fee Work?

Technically speaking you will receive from the law firm:

  1. A conditional costs agreement or

  2. A contingent costs agreement

These documents govern the relationship between you and the lawyer on terms that are not written to favour you. The law firm only  agrees to start work on your matter and may or may not agree to pay for disbursements such as expert reports and barrister fees. There may be a litigation funder who will also take a large percentage.

The bottom line is:

  1. You may be liable for costs

  2. You receive far less than what you thought you would

  3. Your legal costs are increased by  more than 25% (uplift factor)

  4. You have little control over when to accept a settlement amount

  5. You cant leave or exit without a substantial “break” fee

The sum you may eventually get after all the costs and fees deducted may be as little as 20% to 30% of what you initially were promised or thought you could get. Your legal costs will be higher and you will have less control of the outcomes.

Not Every Case Can Be Run On A NWNF

We offer these arrangements on a case-by-case basis. Before we offer you a No Win – No Fee arrangement, we must be satisfied that:

  • Your claim has legal merit

  • Without the arrangement you could not afford to take legal action

  • You’re fully aware of any likely costs to prepare and run your case

  • You’re informed of the risk of paying the other party’s costs if your claim is unsuccessful. This is a potential risk in all litigation.

Why Is Goldman Lawyers Different?

Key Questions For Clients

1. Does Goldman Law provide NWNF or deferred Fees?

Yes. We limit the number of matters  to select cases and where it does not exceed more than 15% of our total caseload. In other words this is not our main business and we don't have lots of lawyers sitting there with nothing to do but take on speculative cases and churn these out like a litigation factory. Many of the firms that do the majority of their business this way operate in this manner. IF you want to be part of a factory mass market lawyer approach, then please use the other firms. This is not the Goldman Law approach.

2. How do you qualify for our expert and boutique NWNF legal services?

If you have a strong case then you are also concerned about the effort and seniority of the law firm and the dollar outcomes. If you are prepared to give away more than 50% of the potential damages award, then you couldn't care less in the first place and anything you get is a bonus. If you are a speculator and please go to the mass market firms.

3. What is my likely outcome and why will it be better?

Our approach to NWNF cases is exactly the same as for our full  fee paying clients. We do not change our approach or method and this provides you with a better result because you get personalised attention from senior lawyers. We also deal with barristers that have the same approach. We invest in larger outcomes. Not just lots of small wins t feed our hungry teams of layers who need fees.

4. What about litigation funding?

We have arrangements with or have spoken with the majority litigation funders.= in Australia, the US and Europe. Litigation funding can be a case-by-case assessment by the funder but litigation funders do not like to fund personal injury or ambulance chasing claims

5. What about NWNF in Wills and Estates?

We look at these very carefully as we have more than 30 years experience in trusts, estates wills. We are also accredited mediators and most of these disputes are settled in mediation. Be careful of law firms that do not have this experience. They may have come from ambulance chasing and are now known as Coffin chasing lawyers and will settle the case for a lesser amount or not defend the case properly if they lack the underlying expertise to conduct the matter all the way to a final hearing,.

6. What type of NWNF or deferred fee arrangements does Goldman take on?

  • a. Disputes concerning Wills and Estates

  • b. Sexual Abuse vs Institutions

  • c. Selected PI matters

  • d. Class Actions

  • e. Matters that match our specialist practice areas (Family law can only have deferred fee arrangements) such as; Trust, Commercial and Complex Litigation.

7. We also look at complex and commercial litigation on a mix of NWNF and Deferred Fee arrangements?

Our core expertise is in financial, commercial, structuring and planning. This also allows us to undertake complex litigation with outstanding results. We do the planning for clients on how to avoid litigation and therefore a better place to know the weak points if we are challenging another firm in Litigation or defending such claims. Either way, we are best placed to evaluate alternative fee arrangements or proposals in such matters.

Meet Our Litigation Senior Lawyers

Jaswinder (Jas) Sekhon

Jaswinder (Jas) Sekhon

Managing Director

Jaswinder has a fresh revitalizing approach to law which has led to outstanding results. Admitted to practice as a solicitor/barrister in four countries, with over 30 years’ experience in wealth, finance, tax, trusts, funds, and structures. Jas equally enjoys strategic work for clients in disputes, emerging, criminal or family law.

Jennifer Cheal

Jennifer Cheal

Senior Associate/Practice Manager

As the practice director, Jennifer is a consummate professional and simply an outstanding lawyer. She has a great eye for relevant detail and yet also a wonderful sense of perspective in devising and implementing legal strategies.

Mathew Nott

Mathew Nott

Practice Area Head Criminal Law Division

Mathew handles the tough charge negotiation with police and brings innovate thinking to defending our clients in Court. His record is outstanding. He will stand shoulder to shoulder with you from the beginning to the end of your matter.

The Untold Truths About NWNF

No matter which law firm you use, most no-win no fee agreements will contain certain clauses which you need to be aware of.

Can I Continue Without Settling?

In many cases, no. The question of what is a reasonable settlement will be left to your lawyers to decide, not you. The lawyers have the most to gain and the most to lose and therefore the assessment of what is a reasonable settlement is a crucial area that is often overlooked by potential clients.

What Is A Reasonable Settlement?

Read your cost and disclosure agreement. It usually means whatever the lawyer thinks is reasonable.

Am I Liable For Costs If I Lose?

You may well be. Costs are discretionary usually follow the cause, meaning that the winner usually has a right to seek costs against the loser.

Do I Have To Pay For Disbursements?

Sometimes. In a NWNF, the law firm already has barristers that it seeks to work with and medical experts for example. If you are not happy with these experts then you may need to pay for any additional disbursements?

What is A ‘Litigation Funding Agreement’?

A agreement is offered by a third party finance company to you the litigant / lender to finance your case.

The agreement allows the law firm to draw fees and costs from the loan to pay disbursements as well as their professional fees. As with any loan, interests and fees are charged as well. Litigation funding averages 25% p.as, or greater in net profits. This comes from clients damages awards! Your pocket. The result is you either end up paying more than you need to or you receive a lower settlement.

What Is An ‘Uplift Fee’?

The concept is that law firms impose an additional fee as a reward for taking the risk that the claim may fail. This is currently capped at 25% in many states. However, the per hour fees may be higher in the first place and then the uplift applies.

What is A ‘Litigation Funding Agreement’?

A agreement is offered by a third party finance company to you the litigant / lender to finance your case.

The agreement allows the law firm to draw fees and costs from the loan to pay disbursements as well as their professional fees. As with any loan, interests and fees are charged as well. Litigation funding averages 25% p.as, or greater in net profits. This comes from clients damages awards! Your pocket. The result is you either end up paying more than you need to or you receive a lower settlement.

How Much Is The ‘Break Fee’?

If for any reason you change your mind or are unhappy working with a lawyer who you have signed a No Win, No Fee agreement with, you may be required to pay a “break fee” for terminating their services before a resolution has been granted. Usually, these are the costs already incurred on your file and could be a large amount. The practical impact is that your remain stuck!

Legal Costs Of The Other Party?

If the case is resolved during mediation you may end up with very little money. The lawyers gets paid before you and if you lose in Court because you wont accept a settlement , you may be liable to pay the court costs and legal fees for the other party.

Judges & Unfair NWNF Arrangements

In considering what is fair and reasonable the judge will take into account whether your lawyer:

  • 1. misrepresented, even innocently, the effect of the ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement.

  • 2. acted inappropriately during the handling of the case.

The Court will also consider the circumstances, and conduct of both client and lawyer before the Costs Agreement was made and during the course of the case.

Disbursements Defined?

The “fee” in No Win, No Fee, usually relates to a lawyer’s professional charges and may not include disbursements such as court fees, experts fees, service fees, office costs and barrister or other agents fees. Disbursements are out of pocket expenses that the law firm is charged to work on your behalf. These are broad and can amount to a large sum.

Difficulty Of Case?

If a lawyer considers your circumstances and they will most likely not take your matter on because they risk not being paid. The expertise of the firm can determine their approach. They only want the easy cases.

Get Independent Advice on A NWNF

If you have been offered a No Win, No Fee agreement by a law firm, get another lawyer to review the agreement before you sign it. We provide this service free of charge.

Question To Ask & Resolve in NWNF

  • Define what type of outcome will allow an uplift in fees. Usually it is nay settlement that is reasonable in the opinion of the lawyer.

  • Confirm and exercise your right to seek independent legal advice about the agreement.

  • Confirm that the client has 5 clear business days after signing to ‘cool off’.

  • Confirm if the client to pay (win, lose or draw) for disbursements. These may include out-of-pocket expenses of the lawyer, such as:

  • a. Barrister’s fees

  • b. Court fees

  • c. Expert reports

  • d. Court books and photocopying

Our Unique “No-Win No Fee” Service

Goldman lawyers provides a personalised and specialised service when it comes to no-win no fee arrangements. We only take on matters where we have capacity and feel that the client may have a particular hardship or have suffered a particular injustice.

With our particular expertise on medical and health law, we are well-placed to consider or defend personal injury actions.

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