contingency fee


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

contingency fee

a fee for legal services that depends upon success and is related to that success. Such charging schemes are permitted in (among other places) the USA, Canada, Spain and Germany. A contingency fee proper is a fixed fee that is paid only on success. A fee that is a share of the litigation in the event of success might be treated differently.

In England, a conditional fee agreement has been permitted in English law since 1990, providing the case does not relate to criminal, family or children cases. Such an agreement allows that fees are payable only if the action is won.

No win, no fee’ is a marketing slogan that can be used by lawyers. It can equally be used by unqualified claims handlers who may or may not refer the cases to solicitors. What the phrase conceals is that the claimant may face the costs of his opponent if the claimant is unsuccessful - indeed, normally the claimant may have to pay disbursements or outlays such as for medical reports. Recently, the more generous ‘no win, no cost’ has been seen, which means that the claims handler or lawyer will cover disbursements and cover the costs of the opponent, albeit perhaps by funding an insurance premium. Both of these, however, do not mention the consequences of winning. A claims handler may take a percentage of the damages regardless of the fact that very little work has been done. The uplift (or increased fee) when a case is won on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis is called a success fee, and it is a fee because it is related to the work done, albeit uplifted. Some solicitors may take a substantially uplifted success fee or take a contracted work rate. In both cases the claimant has to pay money for the claims service from his damages. Where a lawyer charges a normal fee, both in England and Wales and in Scotland, it is not uncommon for the claimant to recover all or most of his legal costs and be able to keep his damages. In Scotland, a pactum de quota litis (‘a promise of a share of the action’) is ex facie illegal and unenforceable so far as lawyers are concerned. Curiously, it has been held in Scotland that unqualified unregistered claims handlers are free to take a share of the action. However, since statutory reform in 1990, the charging of an increased fee of up to 100 per cent if the action is successful is permitted to lawyers. These fees are known as speculative fees.

In the USA it is possible for any share of the proceeds of the litigation to be the subject of agreement on condition that no charge is made if the action is not successful. Note, however, that in the USA, as opposed to the UK, there is no basic rule that the loser pays the winner's costs.

References in periodicals archive ?
The issue first came to the Bar several years ago as a question to the Professional Ethics Committee: Could an attorney handling a personal injury or wrong death case under a contingency fee contract hire another attorney to handle medical liens, with that second attorney being paid a percentage of the money saved for the client (called a reverse contingency fee) even if that meant the contingency fees exceed the limit allowed in Rule 4-1.
Morton and other proponents want to put an "Amendment to Limit Attorney Contingency Fees and Non-Economic Damages in Medical Lawsuits" to a vote of the people.
In proposing regulations to extend the California Competes Tax Credit Program, GO-Biz inserted regulatory changes to limit the use of contingency fees as part of the applicant-consultant fee arrangement during the application process.
The appellate court "held that attorneys who represent clients in contingency fee cases may treat litigation costs that are paid by the attorneys, such as filing fees and witness expenses, as deductible ordinary and necessary business expenses .
The first of these contextual arguments depends on emphasizing similarities between conditional fee agreements and contingency fee agreements to the point of conflating these two types of fee arrangements.
199) Even more unusual, though, when one compares settlement mills' tiered fees to the tiered fees of other personal injury lawyers, it appears that settlement mills both start with a higher contingency fee percentage and also trigger the escalator earlier in the litigation process.
Out of concern that contingency fees may be diminishing the benefits of the program to Canadian businesses and the economy, the Canadian government announced an intention in Economic Action Plan 2012 to study contingency fees charged by tax preparers.
This Note analyzes the available empirical evidence to determine the efficacy, and thus constitutionality, of contingency fee limiting statutes in reducing the medical malpractice payouts and medical malpractice insurance premiums.
If fees were reimbursed or paid via a contingency fee arrangement, the investor will have to include such fees in income and deduct them as itemized deductions, subject to AMT and the 3% phaseout, but not the 2% floor.
In order to conduct a complete analysis of the contingency fee in a signaling model, we also consider the case in which an informed defendant makes a single offer to the uninformed plaintiff.
Brickman has convinced me that there is little competition in contingency fee markets, and that such markets could be much more competitive.

Full browser ?