16 August 2007
No win, no fee under scrutiny
A review of the controversial no win, no fee libel system is under review via a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation paper.
The system allows claimants to take a publication to court for libel even if they do not have the funds to pay costs should they lose.
If a claimant wins lawyers have the right to ask for double the fees to compensate them for the risk of failure, a report from the Press Gazzette (PG) points out.
The consultation paper has two suggestions for reforming the current system, with the first to do nothing.
A new protocol to limit the charging of success fees by solicitors is outlined in the second proposal, with a sliding scale of success fees from zero to 75 per cent.
The MoJ stated on its website: "Doing nothing would retain the existing funding procedures with its complexities and increase legal challenges on costs issues."
Originally aimed at allowing less well-off claimants to gain access to justice, the system has been exploited by celebrities, according to PG – notably Naomi Campbell, who used Article eight of the Human Rights Act to win a claim against MGN for invasion of her pricate life.