wins the case and claimant awarded damages while the solicitor seeks compensation from the losing side. When dealing with civil cases, sometimes it is hard to know how much the case will cost through court proceedings. This is attributed mainly in gauging the seriousness, the other party has placed for the case and the defense they are willing to put up to the end. When a party admits liability once a court case commences, compensation can be achieved and settled quickly and cheaply, when the case does not progress in the court compared to a long case. The costs of running a case usually rise significantly when a case proceeds in court. On top of a lawyer’s expenses, costs also rise when obtaining evidence in support of a case, and more so the costs incurred if an experts’ report is required, inclusive of court fees. High court cases are sometimes known to run into hundreds and thousands of dollars in support of running litigation. Conditional fees, therefore were introduced because of the risky situations experienced by claimants in the case they lost their case, because not only did they have to pay costs of taking the case to court and their solicitor, but also the other parties expenses (Emons, 2000 p.29). Moreover, with conditional fees arrangement, it is prudent for a client to get insurance that will protect them financially incase of losing a case. In the case a client loses a case, the insurance company would settle fees for the winner; therefore no burdens are incurred by the client. Moreover, the poor and disadvantaged in the society may find this option to option to be expensive, but the advantage mentioned earlier is that insurance will be able to pay costs for the winning side. Chain firms also operate in the same way as conditional fee agreements, but whose main role is to negotiate compensation deals for the individuals they represent, against the opposing party. However, chain firms are known to have extremely high insurance cover rates, which many people would not be able to afford. 5
Conditional Fee Arrangements for Legal Aid Additionally, people can approach these firms without intimidation of being involved with solicitors. Conditional fees thereby provide the public tremendous service for people who cannot afford or feel threatened, in taking civil cases to court. These individuals now find the task slightly less daunting. Furthermore, insurance cover is available for clients in the event they lose their claims, where fees for the losing side can be settled through the insurance cover. This has been seen as a major step towards a legal system that allows the public access to justice. In the United States the legal term used is contingent fee while in the United Kingdom conditional fee, in respect to the services provided and payable incase of successful litigation, coupled with the “no win, no fee system” for both countries (Emons, 2006 p.392). Moreover, arguments against and for conditional fees and other
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- Legal Aid, Contingent fee, conditional fee, Conditional fee arrangements