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Title: They want 25% of my compensation

Date: 04 April 2013

Question

My accident claim (multiple broken bones and internal injuries - I was off work for a year and still only back part-time) has been going on for nearly two years. I was referred by my insurer to a firm of solicitors who I understand have been working on a no win no fee set up. They have written to me asking me to sign a new funding document allowing them to take 25% of my compensation at the end of the claim. How can this be fair? They told me day one (or whenever it was – I was in hospital when I was signed up) I would keep all of my compensation but now say the rules have changed. Can you shed some light on this for me?

Joseph Wright, e-mail

Answer

This sounds odd to me. There are new rules coming in for new claims from next month and I suspect it may have something to do with this. The (complex and far too detailed to explain in full here) rules mean solicitors will get reduced fixed fees for lower claims worth less than £25,000 and for claims above £25,000 (such as yours by the sound of it) the solicitor has a choice of either (a) charging the opponent legal costs and a success fee to the client under a no-win, no-fee agreement or (b) taking a percentage of the compensation.

It sounds like your solicitors are trying to adopt the second approach. However, the rule changes do not apply to cases that have already commenced such as yours and your standard no-win, no-fee agreement should continue. It may be a simple case of confusion on your solicitors’ part and I would query with them why an existing case must be subject to the new regime (which in my view should not be the case).

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