Employment Tribunal Claims – Could Your Legal Fees be Covered?

By Ezra Moffatt

Associate Legal Executive

For many employees, the threat or reality of unexpectedly losing their jobs means that their financial stability is severely effected. With less money coming into the household, the prospect of having to pay legal fees can often be seen as a barrier to being able to bring claims against their former employer.

Employees are often unfairly or constructively dismissed due to the behaviour of other individuals within the organisation. This can be anything from the employer not following the correct processes, to more serious incidents such as sexual harassment or discrimination. In these circumstances, employees may have a strong case to pursue against their former employer.

The Employment Tribunal is set up so that individuals can bring claims themselves without the need for legal representation, although for many this can be a daunting prospect. Individuals often prefer to have the reassurance of representation by a firm of solicitors who can ensure that they fully understand what is involved in the process and will pursue all claims they are entitled to bring on their behalf. However, the cost of instructing solicitors after having just lost their job can often deter individuals. 

Many people are unaware that they may have legal expenses cover on their home, car or even pet insurance. Legal expenses cover is designed to cover the cost of legal representation should you need it, and is often included as part of your insurance policy. Most policies cover legal fees and disbursements up to £50,000 or £100,000, it is therefore worth checking if you have this cover before you make the decision not to pursue a claim.

You may find that when speaking with your insurance company they insist that you use one of their ‘panel solicitors’. These are law firms that the insurance company prefer you to use.

However, once legal proceedings have commenced (at the point at which you issue the claim form known as an ET1), or if there is conflict of interest with the insurers (e.g. they also insure your former employer) under the Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990, you have the right to choose your own solicitors and the insurance company will pay their fees on your behalf.

If you have recently been unfairly dismissed, are considering leaving your job or have felt forced to leave your job due to the treatment you have received from your employer, you may be entitled to bring a claim and we can assist you in doing so. 

To find out more, please contact Ezra Moffatt on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form.