We understand that affordability can be a concern for anyone needing the services of a solicitor. Depending on the type of case, Dutton Gregory can offer a range of funding options.
1. Funding private family law proceedings
Legal expenses insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements are not available for private family work involving divorce, financial settlements and Children Act cases. Usually these sorts of cases have to be funded by private payment. We can offer various options such as:
- fixed fees for some work
- staged payments
- credit card payments
- deferred payment with interest; and
- legal fees loans
In each case your solicitor will discuss with you at the outset the various options and arrangements. You will also be given an estimate of the likely overall fees updated whenever necessary.
2. Funding Child Protection matters
Dutton Gregory has a Family Legal Aid Franchise and Legal Aid remains available for advice and representation in certain types of cases involving child protection issues. Client eligibility for Legal Aid will be considered by our Child Protection & Adoption Department in their first contact with you.
IMPORTANT: Please note that Legal Aid is only available to clients regarding Child Protection & Adoption matters. This does not include any other family-related legal matters or any other services at Dutton Gregory.
3. Funding commercial litigation disputes
At Dutton Gregory we understand that entering into litigation whether by choice or necessity is a daunting prospect and that the core issue in any matter is cost. It is no secret that litigation can be expensive; however the court rules on how disputes can be funded have changed, meaning there is a range of ways to fund a dispute that could avoid the risk of you having to pay any costs in a dispute.
We are always happy to discuss likely costs with you and can advise on the available funding options and which options are appropriate for your matter.
a. Private Funding
Traditionally solicitors charge for their dispute resolution services on an hourly rate basis, with the client paying for the legal fees and disbursements for the work undertaken. We enter into a standard retainer with you, which is an agreement that sets out which solicitor will be responsible for the matter and the anticipated costs that will be incurred. We will inform you immediately if these costs are likely to change for any reason. We will also provide you with invoices on a periodic basis to ensure that you are kept up to date with the costs being incurred.
We can also offer either a fixed fee for a specific piece of work or you can set a costs limit and we shall do as much as we can up to that amount.
b. Before the Event Insurance
Before the Event insurance relates to an insurance policy held by you which is in existence prior to the dispute or reason for the litigation arising. These policies can provide legal costs cover for various types of disputes and we advise all of our clients to check their household and vehicle insurance policies immediately and contact their insurance companies to clarify any possible indemnities. These policies should always be considered when instructing solicitors.
c. After the Event Insurance
After the Event insurance is a policy which can be entered into after the dispute has arisen and can be used to protect you against the risk of any payment ordered by the court to your opponent for their costs. It is only available for those cases where the insurer considers the prospects of success are good.
Previously the premium for these policies could be recovered from your opponent if you were successful, however since 1 April 2013 the premium is no longer a recoverable cost of litigation and will be payable by you.
These policies are normally coupled with a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to protect you if you are unsuccessful, but they can be entered into on their own if required.
d. Conditional Fee Agreement
A Conditional Fee Agreement is a contract between you (as our client) and us (as your solicitors) regarding the fees payable by you based on the outcome of the litigation. There are two types of Conditional Fee Agreements:
- No win no fee – this is the most commonly known whereby you will not be liable for our fees if you are not successful in your case. We would charge no fee if the case is unsuccessful and a success fee (in terms of a percentage of the standard base costs) as well as the normal fees if the case is successful.
- Discounted / Shared Risk – you will agree to pay our fees at a discounted rate during the matter and will be liable for the balance of our fees only if your case is successful. We are therefore sharing the risk of the litigation with you.
Both types of agreement can include the success fee up to 100% which will be payable should your case be successful. If a CFA is entered into after 1 April 2013 you cannot recover the success fee from your opponent, even if you are successful.
The type of agreement entered into will depend upon many factors including the merits of your case, the value of your claim and likelihood of recovery from your opponent. We will prepare a risk analysis of your case and discuss the same in detail with you.
e. Damages Based Agreements
These are new agreements which have been available since 1 April 2013. A Damages Based Agreement (DBA) is an agreement where your lawyer can share in the awards of a successful litigation by receiving an agreed percentage of any sums recovered. In commercial cases this is capped at 50% of the damages.
During the dispute we would not receive any fees and if you are unsuccessful you would not have to pay us. If you are successful in your dispute and the court orders your opponent to pay a proportion of your costs, then the figure payable under the DBA reduces accordingly.
f. Third Party Funding
Third Party Funding is where you receive the funds to pay for the costs from a third party who has no connection with the litigation. As with the Conditional Fee Agreement, the Funder will not receive their fee if your case is not successful. If your case is successful however they will usually require a percentage of the damages awarded or a return based on what funding they have provided. The disadvantage with a Third Party Funder is that their fee is not recoverable from your opponent and therefore will be deducted from any sum awarded by the court.
The advantage is that you will be provided with the funding needed to take your case to trial and if you are not successful they will pay any costs awarded to your opponents.
There are specialist companies which invest in litigation in return for a substantial share of the damages.
Each type of funding has advantages and disadvantages and we will discuss each type with you based on your case and your financial situation to ensure that your requirements are met allowing you to proceed with your case.
If you wish to know more about these funding options please call a member of our team.