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Legal Help with Criminal Injury Claims

Facilitating your access to legal advice

The Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA) does not pay legal costs as part of the compensation. It may be that you don't need professional legal help when claiming criminal injury compensation; if so then you do not need to worry yourself with this page. However, even if you do not use a solicitor for your initial claim, you may find your claim rejected or the award not as much as you hoped. If this happens after an appeal to CICA on their first decision then the only option left open to you is an independent tribunal, and whilst it is still not necessary to seek legal aid, most people would benefit immeasurably from it.

Free legal help and advice

Despite the popular perception of lawyers as an expensive commodity there are ways to get free professional legal help and advice.

Law clinics – some legal firms provide a service that is termed a 'law clinic', when they set aside a day or evening where members of the public can come in and receive legal advice for no fee. It is worth checking with your local legal firms to see if they operate such a scheme, as you can get valuable advice that is specific to your individual case. Your time with a solicitor may be limited though, and you should also check to see if a personal injury specialist will be present as not all the lawyers will take part each time a law clinic is opened.

Legal protection cover – legal protection cover is an aspect that is included in some home insurance packages. It can cover you for legal fees in the case of a personal or criminal injury claim. It is worth checking with your insurance provider if you have this and if it can be used to fund professional legal help in a claim for criminal injury compensation.

Funding options

If you find it necessary to get legal advice that you cannot obtain for free, or you need a lawyer to represent you at a tribunal, then these are the options you have:

  • Contingency fee arrangement – a solicitor cannot offer you a ‘no win, no fee’ basis of employment because CICA do not pay legal costs. What they can offer is a contingency fee arrangement; this means that if you lose you will not have to pay any legal costs, though if you do win your solicitor will take a part of your compensation as payment.
  • Fixed fee – this is an agreement that you come to with your solicitor whereby you have the fee fixed from the beginning and it cannot rise above this. This may work if all you need is a legal representative to attend a tribunal for you.
  • Private rate – this is where a lawyer charges you by the hour for every hour of work done on your case. They can bill you regularly. This option has the possibility of being the most expensive.

If you expect a small award for your compensation then the best option is to try and get a contingency fee arrangement. If you expect your compensation to be a large sum you may benefit from the increased flexibility of a fixed fee or private fee arrangement.

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