Litigation Funding Options – were you properly advised?

Has a solicitor declined to act for you because “no win no fee” funding could not be offered but no alternative method of funding was discussed? Or have you lost a claim or case and had to pay your opponent’s legal fees? In either case you may, in certain circumstances, have a claim for negligence against your solicitor.

I couldn’t afford to claim

It is not uncommon for claimant’s to ask a solicitor for “no win no fee” funding to pursue a civil claim or case. If you can’t afford to pay your own legal fees such funding will allow you to pursue your claim as the solicitor takes the commercial risk because his or her fees will only be paid if your claim is successful.

But what if the solicitor declines to offer such funding and you can’t pay the fees upfront or as the claim progresses? In this case the solicitor is duty bound to either advise you of other potential funding options or advise you to seek advice from an alternative solicitor who can advise you on other funding options. A failure to do so may leave your solicitor open to a claim in negligence if as consequence of the advice your claim is now time barred and, had more than fanciful prospects of success and could have been pursued had funding been obtained.

A reasonably competent solicitor should be aware that there are alternatives to “no win no fee” funding or private retainers where a client pays their own fees. The insurance industry offers a wider range of insurance cover for your own legal costs and there are also third party funding options available. Inadequate funding advice breaches the SRA Code of Professional Conduct but can also leave a solicitor liable in negligence.

What about my opponent’s legal costs?

Your solicitor may have been happy enough to offer you “no win no fee” funding but were you properly advised about the risk of having to pay your opponent’s legal costs? If you have lost a case and were not properly advised about obtaining insurance cover for your opponent’s costs then you may have a negligence claim against your solicitor if it can be shown that you should have been protected from paying those costs.

If think you have received inadequate funding/insurance advice from your solicitor then we may be able to help here at Jordans as we have a highly qualified Professional Negligence team who are experts in securing compensation for clients. You can call them free on 0330 300 1103 or request a call back.

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