No win, no fee is common in a personal injury case. What it means that the solicitor gets paid (only) if you get a settlement. If you lose, both you and the solicitor gets nothing.
So when you settle, then the check is made payable to both the solicitor and you. Then the solicitor (subtracts) out the percentage (plus) any legal costs that the solicitor incurred, that you agreed to in the legal contract that you signed when you hired the solicitor.
So for instance the settlement is $10,000 and the fee agreement is 25%, so the solicitor takes $2,500 and you keep $7,500 for yourself. The good news is since solicitor means you are in the UK vs the US, and I “believe” the max they can claim is 25%, vs in the US the standard is 33% and if the claim goes into a lawsuit then the lawyer gets 40%.
Now, if you go to a solicitor and they do not want to take your case on contingency, means that they (believe) you have a losing case, thus if so, then if they charge you by the hour, then they know it is a loser, thus they are guaranteed of getting paid by (you), since if you lose, you get nothing, but the solicitor still gets paid.
Thus the reason for the no win, no fee, since they take only (winning) cases, thus they know they are guaranteed getting paid.
Any settlement you get is based on your injury and not if you have a solicitor or not. The insurance company (never) pays a solicitor, since the client is the one that hired the solicitor, thus the reason the solicitor (subtracts) out the fee from the settlement check, before you get your money.
retired personal injury adjuster (US)