Generally speaking in personal injury claims, the losing party pays the winning party’s reasonable legal costs (“basic charges”) and expenses (“disbursements”) such as the medical expert’s report fees, court fees, barrister’s fees etc. This is dependent upon the type and value of the successful claim. The legal costs paid by the losing party will either be ‘fixed costs’ or ‘assessed costs’ based on how much time has been spent dealing with the claim. Whether ‘fixed costs’ or ‘assessed costs’ are recoverable, they are both determined in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR).
As a general rule, if you lose your claim the rule referred to as ‘qualified one way costs shifting’ (“QOCS”) applies. The application of QOCS protects you from having to pay your opponents legal costs. QOCS ensures that if a Court makes a costs order against you, it can be enforced only up to the total value of any compensation and costs you are awarded by the Court. If these legal costs are higher than your compensation award you do not pay the balance. Therefore, as a general rule if you lose the claim and you are not awarded any compensation, no legal costs are payable by you.
Please note that QOCS applies to claims involving personal injury and this protection can be lost if:
You fail to beat your opponents formal offer in settlement of an issue in the case known as a Part 36 Offer
Conditional Fee Agreements (“CFA”) are one of the main ways to pay for your legal costs in a personal injury claim.
Under a CFA, as a general rule you will not be liable for the basic charges for the work done by MRH Solicitors on your case on an hourly rate if you do not win your case. This is sometimes referred to as a “no win – no fee” funding arrangement.
You may be charged an additional fee over and above our basic charges, if you win your case. This is called the “success fee”. The success fee applies, amongst other reasons, to reflect the fact that MRH Solicitors may not be paid if the case is lost, that payment of your legal costs is being deferred until the end of the claim and that MRH Solicitors will fund the payment of any expenses and disbursements payable during your claim.
The success fee will be calculated as a percentage of our basic charges and it will be capped at no more than 25% of any compensation we recover on your behalf, but excluding compensation for future losses and recoverable DWP state benefits.
If you win, the success fee is not recoverable from the opponent and this is your responsibility since the introduction of new rules, implemented by the Government in 2013.
If your claim is funded by way of a CFA and
If you are funding your claim via a CFA, we recommend that you take out an insurance policy at the outset of your claim to protect you in the event your claim fails against the risk of having to pay your opponent’s legal costs and any expenses and paying your own expenses and disbursements or in the event that you fail to beat a Part 36 offer made in your case making you liable for legal costs. This is called After The Event Legal Expenses Insurance (“ATE”). We can recommend an ATE policy. A premium is payable for the ATE, by you, but usually at the conclusion of the claim and only if you win. The premium is self-insured and you do not pay the premium if you lose, but the ATE policy will still pay your opponents legal costs and your own expenses and disbursements if you lose. We can supply further information upon request.
You may have the option to pursue your claim for personal injury and associated losses via a Damages Based Agreement, a type of ‘no win, no fee’ agreement, whereby on your claim being successful instead of charging you a “success fee” your instructed solicitors would charge you a “Contingency Fee” of up to 25% of your compensation inclusive of VAT in respect of their basic charges giving credit to you for the basic charges and disbursements received by them from your opponent. However, MRH Solicitors do not operate claims for personal injury on a Damages Based Agreement and if you wish to pursue your claim on this basis you will need to instruct another firm of solicitors.
Other forms of funding can include Before The Event Legal Expenses Insurance (“BTE”) which you may have already taken out as part of an insurance policy, typically, with your home or motor insurance or provided by your bank or credit card provider. Some clients have the benefit of free advice and representation funded by their Trade Union. In addition you have the option to pay your legal costs under a private retainer, although this is not common practice amongst personal injury claimants.
MRH Solicitors will discuss with you all forms of funding at the outset of your claim.
A Damages Based Agreement (“DBA”) is a kind of “No Win – No Fee” Agreement. MRH Solicitors recommends using this method of funding for your Employment Claim.
In a DBA the Solicitor only charges you a fee if your employment claim is won or settled in your favour. The details of charge is contained in the Damages Based Agreement. The DBA explains how any Disbursements (e.g. any payments we make during the claim to others who may provide a service to progress your claim, such as barristers or accountants) will also be charged to you at the end of the claim.
If we win or settle your Employment Claim for you, we will ask your Employer to pay MRH Solicitors the damages, and we will then deduct our charges, and disbursements and VAT if applicable as per the percentage agreed in the DBA. This means that you know that you will only ever pay a maximum of 25% (plus VAT and disbursements if any) and the balance will be paid to you.
Our charges include all of the work required to be done by MRH Solicitors to progress your Employment claim to conclusion, including presenting your Employment claim to ACAS, issuing Employment Tribunal proceedings and any other steps that may be required.
If we do not win your Employment Claim, you do not have to pay any of our charges.
If you end our agreement before we have completed your Employment Claim, or act in a manner that is unreasonable, you may be liable to pay our legal fees and disbursements up to the date of termination. Full details including our usual hourly rates are set out in the DBA and terms and conditions.
Solicitors usually charge fees on an hourly rate based on the amount of time they spend working on your case. The Hourly Rate is based on the qualifications and experience of the person carrying out the work, and the type of case that is being dealt with.
Our Standard Hourly Rates are:
|Grade of Fee Earner Hourly Rate||Hourly Rate|
|1 Solicitors, Legal Executives and Other fee earners with over eight years’ post qualification experience including at least Eight years’ litigation experience.||£250.00|
|2. Solicitors, Legal Executives and Other fee earners with over four years’ post qualification experience including at least four years’ litigation experience.||£227.00|
|3. Other Solicitors, Legal Executives and Other fee earners.||£196.00|
Our usual Hourly rates for Employment Claims are £250.00 per hour. Each hour is divided into units of 10, so each unit is 6 minutes. Letters and telephone calls are charged using this unit system based on the time spent on each. Solicitors’ fees and Disbursements are always subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.
We charge the following fees for Employment Claims:
These charges will be deducted from the damages we receive for you before we pay you the balance. A breakdown of the fees and any other deductions we make will be provided at the time it is agreed and before we make the deduction.
|(less) 25% plus VAT||(1,500.00)|
|(less) Barristers Fee||(600.00)|
|BALANCE DUE TO CLIENT||£2,900.00|
If you are a member of any trade union you might be able to ask them to pursue your Employment Claim.
Legal Aid is not available for Employment Claims of this nature.
In a private fee agreement the solicitor charges for work carried out and asks for disbursements to be paid when needed. This means that you would have to pay fees as and when required. The total fees can also be uncertain as there is no real limit as to what you may end up paying – the more the work is carried out, the more you are charged. We do not believe that this is the good way for you to fund your employment claim.
Some people already have what is called legal expenses insurance as part of their home insurance, car insurance policies and credit cards. This is sometimes called “Legal Cover”. You may not even know that you already have this insurance. Many legal cover providers have their own panel of solicitors and require you to use them for any matters that you refer to them. MRH Solicitors do not deal with Employment Claims using pre-existing legal expenses insurance, so if you would like to use this funding option, please contact the insurer directly.
Details of our complaints policy are available on this website.