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What will it cost me?

Obtaining legal advice, assistance and representation will incur a legal charge.

There are many options, but four main types:

(a) Public funding (Legal Aid)

(b) Private funding

(c) ‘No Win, No Fee’ arrangements.

(d) Legal Expenses Insurance

Solicitors will make charges based upon an hourly rate. The overall cost of the case will depend upon how much work is required and a complex case will cost more than a straightforward case. Most child abuse cases are complex and can involve investigations of records and events dating back many years. This can make cases very expensive to bring to court.

In addition to paying for the solicitor’s costs, every case will usually include fees from experts including psychiatrists, doctors, barristers and sometimes other specialist experts.

The legal system usually requires the losing party to a case to pay the winning party’s legal costs. A Claimant who brings a case and loses, however, will only be liable to pay for the Defendant’s legal costs in addition to his/her own legal costs in very few circumstances, which are too complicated to explain in this guide.

It is essential that anyone considering entering into litigation is fully aware of the expenses and implications involved.

Public funding / Legal Aid is presently available for any child abuse compensation claim where the person bringing the claim is financially eligible and where the case has legal merit. To read more about Legal Aid see this guide from the Government.

Where someone does not qualify financially for Legal Aid, the solicitor will consider whether it is appropriate to enter into a ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’  (a ‘CFA’) or what is sometimes misleading called a ‘No Win, No Fee’ arrangement.

It is essential that before entering into such an agreement, the terms of the arrangement are fully understood. In simple terms, the Claimant would not pay for his/her solicitor’s fees if the case was lost. However, they may still have to pay for expert’s fees, barrister’s fees and potentially, their opponent’s legal costs.

It is  sometimes advisable for an insurance policy to be taken out at the time of entering into a conditional fee agreement with the solicitor, to cover the eventuality of paying the opponent’s costs, and expenses, which cannot be recovered. The procedure is never as straight forward as it might sound.

Sometimes existing insurance policies for house contents, cars, health, etc. include legal cover for certain types of case. It would be very unusual for cover to be available for child abuse claims. It is, however, worth checking any policies you have, to see if the description of cover may include advice for abuse.

To compensate us for taking the risk of losing, and not being paid, we are entitled to charge a success fee, which by law, cannot be more than 25% of any compensation recovered. These types of case are very risky.

The other alternative is to pay the solicitor on a privately funded basis as the case proceeds. This will involve paying the solicitor money on a regular basis when a bill is delivered for work carried out, or in advance of certain expenses, such as medical reports or barrister’s fees.

The above is only a summary, and is not intended to represent legal advice, which should be sought specifically in each case.

Simpson Millar, formerly Abney Garsden Specialist Abuse Litigation Team are able to offer confidential and professional advice on the merits and possible pitfalls in bringing a claim for compensation.

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