A report on solicitors’ fees has recommended the use of US-style contingency fees through which solicitors take a cut of the damages won, reports The Times.
The report, seen by the newspaper, was produced by the Civil Justice Council, a committee of judges, solicitors and other individuals involved in the civil courts. It recommends the adoption of the contingency fee system available in the US under which solicitors are paid with the damages won.
Contingency fees are available in the UK, particularly when paying for personal injury lawyers, but only in the form of a conditional fee agreement, commonly known as a no-win, no-fee agreement. Under this system a solicitor cannot take their fees out of the damages awarded but if they win the case are allowed to increase their fees by up to 100 per cent.
The report states that there is “considerable confidence that a contingency fee system in England and Wales is viable”. It claims that there is no reason to believe that the US-style system would see solicitors settling claims earlier than necessary or taking on negligible cases. Equally it warns that solicitors would be less likely to take on borderline cases meaning the measures may reduce “levels of access to justice where the main remedy is compensation.”
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