A debate is looming about freeing up restrictions on the ways lawyers can charge their clients, and the answers aren’t simple, argues Morry Bailes.
Presently it is unlawful for a lawyer to charge a client a percentage of their damages. Damages are the monies awarded to a claimant in a successful civil action to compensate for their loss. The current rules only permit traditional charging, usually on a per hour rate basis. Limited conditional fee agreements are allowed involving some uplift on the usual hourly rate in the event of success, but not a straight contingency. That is still unlawful.