Negligence: Funding Your Claim against a Professional


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Robert Johnson, Partner & Head of Professional Negligence at Healys, explores funding options for you to consider when pursuing a claim against a professional

Litigation is not uncommon and in recent years has increased for a number of reasons; one of which being that we are increasingly more aware of our legal rights and how to exercise them. Another extremely important factor is the growth of so-called "no win no fee" arrangements with solicitors.In this blog, Robert Johnson, Partner & Head of Professional Negligence at Healys, explores how you can fund your claim against a professional. It's not uncommon for businesses and individuals to require assistance in funding their claims. This can be for cash flow reasons or simply to take the risk off your balance sheet.At Healys, we have a proven track record of working with clients to share/eliminate the risks and costs involved in pursuing claims. These are often referred to as "risk sharing retainers". Risk sharing retainers are helpful when you are not in a position privately to fund your claim.These include:

  • No Win No Fee - (Conditional fees) - In this type of arrangement, if you lose your case, your lawyer will make no charge in respect of profit costs, but you will have to pay your own disbursements and your opponent's legal costs. If you win, your lawyer is entitled to charge a success fee on top of the normal hourly rate. Your opponent will not be ordered to pay any part of the success fee but rather it will be paid out of any damages awarded in the case. Please note that it is not obligatory to charge a success fee. We do not always do so but it will depend upon the merits of your case.

"I had to seek the advice of Robert Johnson in the commercial litigation department. I am extremely glad that I did - in January I was awarded substantial damages for a wrong that I had suffered. Although the whole process is obviously a fraught one which is not to be undertaken lightly, Robert helped me through with confidence, calmness and assuredness. His knowledge of both the law and the due process were excellent whilst maintaining an awareness of my commercial needs. It is undoubtedly true to say that during the time that the litigation lasted, I viewed Robert as a partner as well as an advisor, in no small part because he and Healys shared the commercial risk by undertaking the matter on a "no win, no fee basis". Without his marvellous support I would not have had the courage to take action and would not be in the happy state that I find myself in today".- Sherborne Land Limited

  • Hybrid Conditional fees - In this type of arrangement, a proportion of the work carried out (e.g. 50%) will be charged in accordance with our usual retainer terms (i.e. paid on an hourly basis and at the end of each month), and the balance will be subject to conditional fees (i.e. only charged if you win). This is becoming an increasingly popular arrangement; not least because it requires that there is a sharing of the risk between the client and the firm.

"At our first meeting with Robert Johnson we were sure that if anybody could help us Robert could. Robert agreed to deal with our professional negligence dispute on a Hybrid Conditional Fee Agreement and got to work immediately; keeping us informed every step of the way. His professionalism, confidence and knowledge in this field are reassuring and our faith in Robert has never wavered. We have complete confidence in Robert and would recommend him to anybody".- Charles and Janice Anderson

  • Contingency Fee/Damages-Based Agreements - In this type of agreement, you will again not be charged any profit costs if you lose the case. If you are successful you will be charged a percentage of that recovered as agreed at the outset but which cannot be more than 50% (25% if a personal injury case) of that recovered.

"I am profoundly grateful to Robert Johnson and Ben Parr-Ferris of Healys for the favourable settlement of my professional negligence claim. From the outset I was impressed with Robert's knowledge, expertise and practical advice, and was equally impressed by his efficiency, prompt response to queries and clear and concise updates as to the progression of my claim. Healys were instructed on a contingency fee arrangement; and this, along with their professional handling of the matter, left me in no doubt as to their commitment to achieving the best outcome possible. I would readily recommend Robert Johnson and his team, and Healys as a firm, to any prospective clients."- Cameron Worth

  • Fixed fees and caps - For certain matters Robert Johnson may be able to deal with your entire case on a fixed fee basis or cap the fees at a maximum amount. Additionally/alternatively he may be prepared to provide you with fixed fees for each stage of your case. As with hourly rates, disbursements/expenses are paid on an ongoing basis.

"Once again Robert Johnson exceeded my expectations when I instructed him to act for me in relation to a breach-of-contract matter. He very quickly understood all the issues at hand and laid out our options and the best strategy to follow in a clear, confident and efficient manner. Always professional and communicative, Robert provided sound advice, excellent service throughout and ultimately, a successful result. I would not hesitate to call on his expertise in the future, and would recommend his services to anyone in need of a litigation solicitor."- Thilo Sautter"I instructed Robert Johnson to act for me in relation to a high value contractual dispute and am very pleased with the service I received. We achieved an extremely successful result after a 5 day trial in the High Court. I recovered the full amount of my claim plus costs on the indemnity basis. I was very impressed with the way in which Robert grasped the complex issues involved from the outset and guided me through the litigation process with ease and confidence. He was efficient, professional and exercised sound judgment. Robert's choice of Counsel, Jonathan Gavaghan of 10 Old Square, was excellent and I was very impressed with the way in which he presented my case at trial. The excellent service continued after the trial in relation to costs which were recovered in full to include all the costs of recovery. Robert exceeded my expectations. He is a first class litigation lawyer. I cannot recommend him highly enough."- Thilo Sautter

Do you Require Legal Advice?

Litigation - Interview with Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson has been acting for his clients involved in disputes for over 30 years and as a consequence has built up extensive expertise. For the last 20 years he has been acting for his clients in professional negligence claims and often with the funding options summarised in this article. He has built up very strong relationships with barristers who are also prepared to share the risk in the same way; after the event insurers; and third party funders (to be discussed in Robert's next article). Robert is an expert in professional negligence matters. Robert and his team win more than 95% of their client's claims.If you think you may have a claim and need your solicitor to act on some sort of risk-sharing retainer, please contact Robert Johnson on (direct dial) 020 7822 4106 (mobile) 07899 973306 (e-mail)

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