The Government is planning to change the current ‘no win, no fee’ system, in which a lawyer taking a no win no fee case charges a success fee met, in effect by the losing party, to an American style system in which the damages are split between the claimant and the lawyer.
The reason advanced for the change, which follows a review by Lord Justice Jackson, is that the cost of claims, particularly against the NHS, has been greater than expected. Indeed, Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke claimed that the cost of settling claims against the HNS was nearly 25 per cent less than paying the legal fees incurred by the claimants.
The detailed proposals are not yet to hand, but broadly will seek to limit the highest success fees. It is difficult to understand, therefore, how cases involving complex issues, or which require vary large amounts of evidence to be prepared and sifted by the legal process, will be managed under such as system.