Is being granted legal aid an alternative to no win no fee?

After the 1979 decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Airey v. Ireland was handed down (where it was found that a woman who was not granted civil legal aid to enable her to obtain a decree of divorce had had her rights violated under the European Convention on Human Rights) there was a comprehensive legal aid system put in place to deal with family law cases.

However, while the Irish civil legal aid scheme has been expanded over the years, with the Legal Aid Board now taking on some cases involving personal injuries and medical negligence claims, the resources afforded to these practice areas are pitifully small, meaning that civil legal aid is not available to many people of very modest means, thereby necessitating their reliance on no-win-no-fee arrangements provided by solicitors in private practice.

If a person is granted legal aid their case is taken on by a solicitor who is a full-time employee of the Legal Aid Board.  There is presently no facility in place where a claimant can retain a solicitor of their own choosing under the legal aid system.

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*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

John specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims. His practice focuses on high value compensation cases. He has extensive experience in this area of litigation for over 10 years. Read more