Can Irish solicitors advertise a no-win-no-fee service?

The Solicitors Acts, 1954 to 2002 Solicitors (Advertising) Regulations, 2002 forbid any solicitor from publishing an advertisement which include words or phrases such as “no win no fee” or “no foal no fee” or other words or phrases of a similar nature which could be construed as meaning that legal services involving contentious business would be provided by the solicitor at no cost or reduced cost to the client.

While the intention of these regulations was stated to be the prevention of an ambulance-chasing culture taking hold in this country, it is arguable that the prohibition on solicitors making clear the basis upon which they are willing to provide their services is an unfair withholding of information from consumers so as to enable them to ‘shop around’ effectively so as to make an informed choice about the solicitor they decide to use to represent them.

In contentious business, a legal practitioner shall not charge any amount in respect of legal costs expressed as a percentage or proportion of any damages (or other moneys) that may become payable to his or her client or purport to set out the legal costs to be charged to a junior counsel as a specified percentage or proportion of the legal costs paid to a senior counsel. A legal practitioner shall not without the prior written agreement of his or her client deduct or appropriate any amount in respect of legal costs from the amount of any damages or moneys that become payable to the client in respect of legal services that the legal practitioner provided to the client.

John McCarthy specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims. His practice focuses on high-value compensation cases. John qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and holds a diploma in civil litigation. This specialist qualification in the area of personal injury and medical negligence litigation, is awarded by the Law Society of Ireland.