The Legal Ombudsman is considering scrapping the term ‘no win, no fee’ after a recent report showed some law firms had wrongly charged clients who had entered into no win, no fee agreements.
The watchdog said it dealt with around 600 cases last year where claimants were wrongly billed for “significant and unexpected costs” which resulted in firms paying out a total of nearly £1million in compensation.
Some cases showed poor practise from firms who either didn’t properly explain the agreements or even tried to go back on the terms of the agreement which left clients with large bills.
Bott and Co have welcomed the clamping down on rogue firms, who fail to look after their clients, but have urged the LeO not to ban the term because a minority have abused it.
To eliminate the phrase from the vocabulary of legitimate and ethical law firms because of the behaviour of a minority would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
David Bott, Senior Partner at Bott and Co said: “There should be no problems using the term no-win no-fee to describe a service that has no charge if a case is unsuccessful and the client has kept to the terms of the no-win no-fee agreement. To eliminate the phrase from the vocabulary of legitimate and ethical law firms because of the behaviour of a minority would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”
The Law Society has agreed with the ombudsman’s comments that solicitors need to be clear on the terms of the agreement and that no win, no fee and commended the work no win, no fee solicitors do.
Law Society President, Nicholas Fluck said: “No win, no fee solicitors are bringing justice to the masses for people denied legal aid. Solicitors working on conditional fee agreements take on significant risk with these often complex cases.”