It is generally acknowledged that the payment method of "no win no fee" can increase access to justice for those who would not otherwise be able to afford to litigate, but recently there has been debate over whether "no win no fee" in turn has contributed to a "compensation culture."
Now, the Times reports that the Supreme Court is to rule on whether this costs regime could breach the right to a fair hearing. The judgment could have huge consequences. Indeed Lord Neuberger said that if the Court rules that the right to a fair trial was infringed it could have “very serious consequences for the government” as litigants could have a claim for compensation against the government for the infringement.
Top judges are set to rule whether “exorbitant” legal fees run up by lawyers over more than a decade under the “no win no fee” costs regime are in breach of human rights. The Supreme Court began considering yesterday whether the regime, which operated until 2012, was a breach of the right to a fair hearing. The test case could land the government with a multi-million pound compensation bill for excessive fees that hundreds of litigants have had to pay over many years.