How to fund a legal case without breaking the bank
When deciding whether to pursue or defend a claim, determining how you will fund your case is one of the biggest factors to consider.
Knowing the options available can help you with this difficult decision. Below, we cover some of the different methods you can use to help with funding, whether you’re searching for an employment or dental lawyer.
How to fund your legal case
You may choose to pay privately for the legal costs. However, this is often the most expensive way to fund a claim, as you will likely be paying the solicitor hourly for all work done to prepare the case unless you can negotiate a fixed fee agreement.
The benefit of this is that you can pick an expert in the field and someone you can trust to do the best for your case. The old adage that you get what you pay for is particularly true here.
The downside is that due to the very nature of litigation, it can be hard to say from the outset the likely fees, as this can change depending on how the case progresses. A solicitor should be able to give you a ballpark figure and may agree to cap costs for you based on this or in respect of various stages to help you manage funds.
If the claim is in the civil courts, you may be able to recover some of your legal costs if you succeed. However, if you lose, you could be liable for the other side’s legal costs. Unfortunately, in relation to fitness to practice hearings, you cannot recover your legal costs.
Similarly, in an employment tribunal you can only recover costs in very limited circumstances, and it is rare that costs are recovered.
‘No win, no fee’
These agreements are more normally found when one is pursuing a claim rather than defending it. The benefit to you is that there are no solicitor’s costs unless you win; this usually means a solicitor will be confident in the prospects of success of the claim, as otherwise, they could do a considerable amount of work for no money.
The downside is that, due to no up-front payment, the solicitor will take a success fee from your compensation if you win. Be sure to double-check the terms of any agreement before signing, as there may be hidden costs if you lose or in other situations, which may mean you do have to pay some costs even if you do not recover any monies.
Legal expenses insurance policy
Such policies are normally attached to other insurance policies, such as employer’s liability or home contents insurance. The downside to legal expenses insurance is that you often must meet certain criteria before funding is agreed upon. They also typically only apply once a dispute has arisen and do not provide legal assistance to help you resolve a matter before getting to this stage.
The benefit is that if funding is approved for your claim, your legal costs and disbursements are covered, and often that of the other party should the case not succeed. There are different types of legal expenses insurance, and it is often worth shopping around to find one that suits you.
For example, some will cover your legal costs no matter what, and some will cover any compensation payable if you lose. Such policies are likely to attract a higher premium. Remember, if you have legal expenses insurance, you have the freedom to choose your own solicitor and do not have to use the panel solicitors instructed by your insurance company.
If you are part of a defence union, you will have access to various services, including legal representation. However, the defence union are not obliged to follow your instructions and can decide, due to commercial reasons, to settle a claim that you do not want to settle.
This can leave you with a sense of injustice and frustration. Another consideration when choosing a defence union over standard indemnity insurance is that you will have no freedom of choice when selecting the solicitor or barrister you want. Non-discretionary insurance policies are legally obliged to give freedom of choice in this regard.
After the event insurance
As the name suggests, this is insurance you purchase after the dispute has arisen. It will normally cover your disbursements and the other side’s disbursements and legal costs should your claim fail.
Therefore, the policy does not cover your legal costs, which you will still need to fund. However, if your claim is in the civil courts and you succeed, then you will recover some of your legal costs and disbursements from the losing party.
Do it yourself
There is always the option of representing yourself in proceedings. The benefit is you have complete control over your case, and you do not have any legal costs.
However, beware: if the claim is in the civil courts and you lose, you could have to pay the winning party’s legal costs. If you do represent yourself, remember to take a step back from the case – it is all too easy to get caught up in proving every wrong or to throw every allegation into the mix, which can often detract from the strengths in the case.
You can consider instructing a solicitor to give you initial advice, so you know what direction to head in. You may also seek advice from a solicitor on an ad hoc basis to help you at various stages, which can keep the cost of litigation down.
Expert legal advice with JFH Law
How you fund a claim will depend on the type of claim being pursued. A solicitor has a duty to provide you with advice on your funding options, not just their fees, so you can ask them to explain the options available to you. Make sure you understand any potential costs consequences of losing a claim, as you may want to seek insurance to cover such costs.
If you are searching for a dental lawyer, employment lawyer, or business support services, get in touch with JFH Law. With over twenty-five years of collective experience within the justice system, we are ideally placed to provide a comprehensive, streamlined service from start to finish for your case.
Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written, which may affect the information and advice given therein.