With reference to suggested 'Conditonal Fee Agreements' (CFA's) in other headings below this - I thought the following information may prove useful -

CFA Agreements (No Win No Fee) - this requires your case to have a 'first class' chance of winning. The solicitor takes a percentage profit (up to 25%) by way of uplift on his/her normal fees. You can still be left holding the baby with regards to insurance premiums, disbursements, etc.

Alternatives are : -

LawAssist - see their site for full details - - this may be useful if a class/group test action can be brought using the best cases - covers BOTH sides legal costs & disbursements.

Breaches of Contract and/or Negligence are insurable.

Typically the insurance premiums are 15-20% of the costs (subject to individual assessment) i.e. if your anticipated legal costs for BOTH sides are estimated at say #100,000 (for ease of calculation) then your insurance premium will be circa. #15,000. Bloody hell (you might say) can't run to that - no problem - it gets better - no premium to find - it is treated as a 'disbursement' and rolled up into the insured amount, e.g. #100k costs + #15k premium = #115k cover.

If you lose, you claim on the policy - when you win (and we've all seen the Society's back off before the Court of Appeal - all those Societies who don't want to provide details of their calculations and costs, take note) then they pay you plus costs, plus the premium (under new guidelines).

To start with your/any case has be assessed - this requires an intial fee to LawAssist - I'm not sure what this is these days, it was #50 it will probably be on their site.

The really good news is it is not 'means tested' - so it does not matter if you are finding things a bit tight.

However you must use an approved LawAssist panel solicitor.

The above works along similar lines to the well known Claims Direct procedure - they assess your personal injury, or accident, they then underwrite the loan for the premium for the legal costs. (I've used Claims Direct - very efficient - good result).

LITIGATION PROTECTION LTD. - 'similar' to LawAssist but has other benefits - you can nominate your own solicitor - not necessary to be a panel member - declarations are insurable i.e. if you were seeking a declaration on the 6/12 year rule the risk would be reflected in the premium - they can provide finance for the premiums - very useful for a group action - divide the cost - no doubt other terms could be negotiated.

This may be a good route for a group action.

Website : for full details.

Remember, that these days you can insure against a rainy day. Legal expenses insurance has come along way, especially as now you can recover the insurance premium under the Access To Justice 2000 initiative - before you had to fork it out of your damages. It is now treatable as an expense/disbursement.

Judging by the momentum on this site against the errant Societies, and in the Mail On Sunday Campaign (well done Eleanor Scott), it surely can only be a matter of time before the likes of the Halifax (see Tony Hayter's issues)and Abbey National (too many to mention) are made to 'put up or shut up', and an end brought to their less than desirable tactics !!

Given the 'insurability' of anything these days, I am surprised that the main lenders do not carry a block insurance for shortfalls and repossessions/arrears.

Provided it could be proven that each claim was a deserving case due to whatever reason, then the Societies could still reap their billions in profits - it would be just the human misery that would be saved - and families could stay in their homes, and rebuild their lives in a much shorter space of time.

I hope the foregoing helps you all.

With best wishes, Vic

-- Vic Harper (, October 09, 2000


By way of an addendum to the above - I would have thought it was far more cost effective, if a number of those affected were to spend/contribute #x per month towards a collective premium (#10 per month x 100 victims = #12,000 premium) - and there's more than 100 borrowers affected judging by the publicity on this site and elsewhere, rather than pay any sums to the lenders for unexplained & unproven amounts claimed, to force the lenders to provide the information and to explain (or seek a ruling) on their apparent negligence in appropriate cases.

Finally, the real crunch comes when appointing the 'appropriate' solcitor - caveat emptor here - some can make estate agents appear to have the tongue of a saint !!

With best wishes, Vic

-- Vic Harper (, October 09, 2000.

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