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No win, no fee, no more

Categories: McKennitt v. Ash +
Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011

An important ruling from the European Court of Human Rights signals the end of so-called CFA’s in English libel and privacy cases, and with that a step forward for freedom of speech.

CFA stands for “conditional fee arrangements”, or “no win, no fee”. As in the landmark Naomi Campbell case, it means that newspapers or other defendants have to pay out vast “success fees” to claimants’ lawyers, which in turn has meant that there has been a reluctance to go to court and defend perfectly defensible cases.

The ECHR ruled that “success fees were inappropriate because they had not been designed for wealthy claimants but to widen access to justice for those who cannot afford to go to court”.

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