How Do No Win No Fee Work and How to Avoid Hidden Fee Traps?

How Do No Win No Fee Work: If you’re planning to file a personal injury claim, but you’ve never used a no win no fee attorney, you may be skeptical and have a lot of doubts. Having little to no knowledge of these terms makes you wonder whether it’s safe or how much you’re going to pay. And you’re right to be skeptical because although the idea behind no win no fee lawyers sounds too good to be true, some layers use fee traps in their costs agreements and should be avoided. 

In other words, some no-win-no-fee attorneys, including some very notable legal firms, still expect their clients to pay them if they’re unsuccessful with their case. That’s because their agreements cover only professional fees but not their costs. 

how do no win no fee work
how do no win no fee work

No Win No Fee: What Does It Mean?

A no win no fee agreement (or conditional fee arrangement) allows you to make a compensation claim with no financial risk and without paying any attorneys’ fees upfront. That means you only pay if your no win, no fee claim is successful. If otherwise, you don’t have to pay any fee– either to your own solicitor or to your defendant’s. 

Is there a catch?

With such an agreement, it’s understandable that you might think there’s a catch. And who can blame you? After all, an agreement where you don’t have to pay anything if you don’t win your personal injury case sounds too good to be true. 

However, as its straightforward name suggests, there is no catch with the No Win No Fee agreement. It’s a conditional fee agreement which means your attorney’s fee is conditional on them winning your case for you. 

If your personal injury lawyer considers you have a good chance of a successful claim, they will take on your case in this agreement without asking for payment before they begin working on the case. However, they will not receive any payment if you don’t win your case, which means you will only pay your attorney for their work if you receive compensation for your injuries.

In case you’re not awarded compensation for your accident, you don’t have anything to pay, and you don’t risk anything by making a claim. The point is that everyone can pursue justice for accidents that were not their fault. 

This agreement opens up justice for everyone, especially those who can’t afford to pay a solicitor for their work. This means everyone can file a legal claim if they’ve been injured through someone else’s carelessness. 

How Much Do Lawyers Working On This Agreement Take?

A no win no fee attorney will normally bill you for professional bills, barrister fees, and disbursements. 

Professional fees

These fees are earned by your solicitor if they win your personal injury claim. According to PersonalInjuryClaims.or.Uk, solicitors are not allowed to take a percentage of your compensation payment – this rule prevents legal workers from charging high fees for little work. 

Solicitors working on this kind of agreement should only charge you for the actual services they provide, though set fee or an hourly rate for each of the services they provide. 


This is everything your solicitor will incur when they run your case. Disbursements are critical services that can make up a great part of your bill: 

  • Forensic accounting reports 
  • Medical reports 
  • Other expert reports
  • Court fees 

The costs for these services vary depending on the complexity of your case, but typically they can run into thousands of dollars. 

  • Barrister’s fees 

If your solicitor engages a barrister on your behalf, they will pass on the costs of the barrister to you. However, barrister’s fees for personal injury cases range between $5,000 and $10,000. 

Hidden or Unexpected Fees in No Win No Fee 

More often than not, clients fail to fully understand the terms of the agreement. People don’t have the patience or necessary legal experience to understand these documents before signing them. 

However, the same solicitor who offers you the No Win No Fee agreement is responsible for explaining it. 

  • Paying disbursements 

That’s one of the biggest differences you will find between solicitors who offer this agreement, and it’s definitely one to watch out for. This happens when no win, no fee lawyers still require a large fee if you don’t win your case

A law firm might convince you to sign the agreement and tell you they won’t charge anything for their work. However, they will still try to charge you for the disbursements – and can reach even thousands of dollars. 

  • Paying disbursements upfront 

Some no win no fee personal injury solicitors may not pay for some of the medical reports or forensics they need to support your case. Make sure you avoid legal firms who expect you to pay these costs upfront – seek a legal professional who will pay them on your behalf, so you are not taking any risk. 

  • Charging interest on your disbursements 

Some personal injury solicitors will support barrister fees and up-front costs for you but then charge you interest in the costs at the end of your case. Make sure you hire a personal injury expert that doesn’t charge any interest. 

What is the success fee?

Your personal injury will receive a success fee if you’re awarded compensation. You will learn more about this at the beginning of the process, so you won’t come across unexpected costs.

The fee is up to 25% of your compensation, and it’s available for claims involving slips and trips, accidents at work and most other injuries. Make sure you ask your solicitor about the success fee before signing up for the no win no fee agreement. 

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