No Win No Fee – you kidding?

No win no fee advocacy can provide access to the legal profession that some people could not afford but in removing the cost barrier are we actually opening up the system to misuse.

We have all seen the late night adverts promoting the services of the “No Win, No Fee.” Lawyer. Not all Employment Lawyers offering contingency services are this blatant. Most behave professionally and will provide the right advice for their client over and above the desire to earn a few bucks. For people with limited funds and a genuine grievance, the contingency system can provide legal representation that could otherwise not be afforded.

A recent case, The Order of ST John Midland Regional Trust Board v Greig demonstrated some of the issues that can arise. Greig had taken an unjustified dismissal case against his employer and used the services of a contingency lawyer. After only one days deliberation the ERA found in favour of the company and Greig lost his case, paying the lawyer $100 for his services. The ERA ordered Greig to pay $1500 towards the company’s legal costs which amounted to $20,000.00.

The Order of St John went back to court and asked for a greater contribu...

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