Conditional Fee Arrangements (CFAs) were first introduced into the English justice system a little over a decade ago and ever since then they have become a prominent feature of almost all personal injury litigation cases. Even if you have little understanding or interest in the study of the law, it is almost impossible to escape the countless number of adverts in the media that promote these ‘no win, no fee’ arrangements. Sandbach (2004) states that, “compensation has always been a central pillar of the legal system, as its purpose is to provide corrective justice. Civil (tort) law requires that a person be financially compensated where injury arises out of another’s negligence” . Many of the adverts on television depict such scenarios and the firms advertising promise to take on any such cases on the understanding that if they don’t win you compensation, you won’t be charged.
The purpose of this essay is to look at some of the advantages and disadvantages that arise as a result of such agreements. In order to do so, this essay will firstly provide a very general look at what CFAs actually are and why they were introduced into the English justice system in the fist place. The essay will then turn to consider the potential advantages and disadvantages of CFAs.
Section 1: CFAs
The rationale behind CFAs is that it offers a possible alternative way of funding litigation. Before the introduction of CFAs, the claimant either had to pay for the cost of litigation from his or her own pocket or, if they met certain criteria, they could apply for legal aid. Even though what Sandbach argues is correct, successive governments have struggled with the question of who should pay for this. In 1949, England created, “the first and still the most ambitious, national legal aid scheme ever enacted” . It was hoped that this scheme, which included provisions for personal injury cases, would widen access to justice for all. The government had to...