Libel lawyer's no-fee offer

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The Independent Online
HARD-UP DEFAMATION victims will be able to call on the services of the country's best-known libel lawyers, Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners, who are offering to take on cases on a "no win, no fee" basis.

Until now, many people have feared to challenge rich media organisations because actions are often long and costly. Mr Carter-Ruck said he had been campaigning for 30 years to make defamation actions more widely available.

Such actions have always been outside the legal aid budget but the opportunity for fighting them emerged with the introduction of the Conditional Fee Agreement Order in June.

Under the terms of such an arrangement, clients would have to pay only the firm's professional fees if they won their case, with 25 per cent of any compensation. If the case is lost, the professional fees are waived, although the losing client would still be liable for the costs of the defending side. A Law Society spokesman said the arrangement would be most useful to hard-up plaintiffs with straightforward cases.