**Read before obtaining employment law advice**

Discussion in 'Employment & HR' started by bwglaw, Mar 21, 2013.

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  1. bwglaw

    bwglaw UKBF Legend

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    UK Business Forums now have a dedicated forum for employee topics and no doubt many employees or workers will be seeking employment law advice in relation to a live employment situation. As with most online forums, any reliance on any information given through a forum is at your own risk and there is unlikely to be any recourse against the author of a post or the owners of the forum.

    With the above in mind and in order to preserve your legal rights it is important that you obtain proper direct legal advice from any of the recognised sources below:

    • Household insurance – you may have access to a free legal helpline
    • Trade Union (if you are a member)
    • Professional or Trade Association

    The above list is not exhaustive.

    There are a growing number of individuals and businesses that provide employment law advice for employers (and employees) – these are often referred to as ‘claims management companies’ or 'employment law consultant or consultancies'. Some exist on this forum and many do provide good legal advice.

    For your own protection, you should be aware that any individual or business that procures or advises a claimant (employee or worker) or a potential claimant, must be authorised by the Ministry of Justice Claims Management Regulator. It is a criminal offence for an unauthorised individual or business to procure or advise a claimant in employment matters.

    Certain exemptions for authorisation apply, for example, a solicitor (in possession of a valid practising certificate), charity or advice agency do not need authorisation. Authorisation is not required where the individual or business deals exclusively with employers. If you are not certain whether an individual or business is authorised you can search the Ministry of Justice Claims Management Regulator website

    Before seeking employment law advice as a claimant or potential claimant you should read the following pages on the Ministry of Justice Claims Management Regulator website:

    Posted: Mar 21, 2013 By: bwglaw Member since: Apr 8, 2005
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  2. kulture

    kulture Moderator
    Verified Business ✔️

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    Good advice
    Posted: Mar 21, 2013 By: kulture Member since: Aug 11, 2007
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  3. S-Marketing

    S-Marketing Guest

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    There seems to be so many people offering legal advice these days.

    My personal opinion (if you unsure who to approach) is simply to go to a solicitor. A proper qualified solicitor.

    Almost anyone can call themself a lawyer or legal expert, and these titles mean little.
    Posted: Mar 21, 2013 By: S-Marketing Member since: Jan 1, 1970
  4. bwglaw

    bwglaw UKBF Legend

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    In my experience, non-solicitors can do just a good job as practising solicitors, sometimes better and cheaper too. I believe in consumer choice and affordable justice.

    My post above is not necessarily about the quality of service (although it plays a part) but about the provider being held to account and ultimately the client having recourse when things go wrong, and unfortunately they do.
    Posted: Mar 21, 2013 By: bwglaw Member since: Apr 8, 2005
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  5. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Legend

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    Unfortunately a proper qualified solicitor does not mean you will get the right advice.

    I remember years ago doing a prison visit to a client we had picked up at the police station under the duty solicitor scheme. He was a very respectable middle aged businessman who had never been in trouble with the law before. He was charged with manslaughter (charge should probably have been murder, but there you go). I spent a long time explaining the process that was underway, what would happen, when we would apply for bail etc. After hearing all of this he said that, while he was grateful for what we had done he was very aware that we were a firm that specialised in criminal defence, and as he was not a criminal he thought he would be better represented by the firm his family had used for years. I pointed out that, on the admitted facts, he had shot a man to death, which tended to be a criminal offence, even if he did not consider himself a criminal; and whoever he chose to represent him should be experienced in criminal law.

    At the next magistrate's hearing, which we attended intending to apply for bail, his family solicitor turned up with a change of representation form. So we stood down. The new representative then asked if we would continue and do the bail application, as he had never done one before!! Turned out his firm had never handled a speeding offence, let alone a criminal charge which carried a potential life sentence.

    I think what I am trying to say is that solicitors have specialisms the same as many other professions. being a solicitor does not guarantee an encyclopaedic understanding of all aspects of law.

    You need to choose carefully - horses for courses.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
    Posted: Mar 24, 2013 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
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  6. tarzanarahman

    tarzanarahman UKBF Newcomer

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    Really effective & helpful advice .................
    Posted: Aug 14, 2014 By: tarzanarahman Member since: Aug 11, 2014
  7. LawSpark

    LawSpark UKBF Newcomer

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    Good advice! One of the advantages of going to a solicitor advice (over legal staff who are not qualified lawyers) is that solicitors have to take out professional indemnity insurance - so there will definitely be funds in place for you to sue them if it all goes wrong!
    Posted: Nov 28, 2014 By: LawSpark Member since: Oct 31, 2014
  8. David Johnston

    David Johnston UKBF Newcomer

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    There is something of a spat currently between law firms and regulatory consultancies around who is best placed to give employment advice to small businesses. The above advice is misleading as the MoJ authorisation is designed to help employees and impoverished consumers (not companies) to avoid ambulance chasers. When you buy employment advice as a 'boss' you're a company and 'consumer' protections do not apply. Not being on this register simply means you are not considered a personal injury bulk marketing risk. The fact is solicitors (and barristers) work in the dispute resolution teams of all of the regulatory consultancies too and while there are 150 law firms which can genuinely claim a specialism in employment law (ie 2 or more fee earners do nothing but employment law all the time), there are now also 170 regulatory consultancies with similar competences. The largest employment law team advising businesses in the UK is no longer a law firm. Especially in the SME and micro firm sectors, law firms have largely been replaced by lawyers working in compliance consultancies.

    I hold no brief for either, but rather advise firms from large GC led teams to SMEs which firms are likely to be worth a look when you need help. Frankly I would be wary of any law firm migrating from personal injury work to employment as (a) it will be a forced move strategically, (b) they will usually work for employees and could risk conflicts, and (c) what you really need is a specialist who does employment law/HR day in day out, not PI one day and tribunals the next.

    The market leading consultancies for small businesses are well known: Peninsula, Abbey Protection, RBS Mentor and Croner, but ELAS, Ellis Whittam, Citation, Judicium, Park City and Northgate are good options. From the law firms Doyle Clayton, Thomas Mansfield, Collingwood Legal, GQ Employment Law, Averta, Menzies, Quantrills, rRadar and Harrison Clark Rickerby's would be where I'd start, not the big brands like Eversheds or Lewis Silkin (excellent though they are, larger law firms largely want to deal only with deeper pockets).
    Posted: Jun 2, 2015 By: David Johnston Member since: Jun 2, 2015
  9. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Legend

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    If you read the opening post carefully it does state that the advice is for employees, claimants (or potential claimants) and workers.
    Posted: Jun 2, 2015 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
  10. Employment Law Clinic

    Employment Law Clinic Verified Business ✔️

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    To be fair to @David-johnston Cyndy, the opening post was posted when the forums had a separate area for employees - no longer a feature. And I have seen posts such as this one which suggests people should only use the services of a solicitor or barrister, not any other sort of lawyer, so the issue is still valid

    These are a lot of the known bigger players in the market, and to be fair to at least one - Peninsula, who come in for some criticism for the way they sell & apply their retainer policies - Peninsula do have a fair share of successes in the Employment Appeal Tribunals, cases argued by their consultants - not solicitors or barristers.

    From personal experience handling cases that have also been with any of the above (either a client that changed the services, or from the opposing side) - Peninsula, Abbey, RBS, Croners, ELAS (I think from memory), Northgate Arinso, Eversheds, Lewis Silkin, and others not listed above - I would have confidence in none of the above for practical advice that would deliver on an SME's aspirations (to take the robust action necessary against many rogue employees), and only Peninsula if a case actually got to a tribunal - they can at least present/defend a claim well if their advisers allow a subscriber to get that far.

    And as far as the argument about whether using a solicitor/barrister or other qualified lawyer is concerned, I know of at least one barrister that was happy to go with a "lawyer" - a previous client. I also know of a few barristers that weren't so happy (including a Legal 500 barrister that specialised in discrimination claims), as they lost their client's claims to my defence of an employer.

    Karl Limpert
    Posted: Jun 2, 2015 By: Employment Law Clinic Member since: Aug 10, 2009
  11. Daniel Barnett

    Daniel Barnett UKBF Newcomer

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    There is one theoretical advantage in using a lawyer (over a consultant). Any advice and discussions between the employer and the lawyer are 'privileged', ie they are immune from disclosure. But discussions with employment consultants are not - so if a telephone helpline operator makes a note that 'Employer said they're going to sack her anyway', or 'Employer wants to sack someone because they're pregnant', it's a discloseable document and the tribunal can (and will) order a copy of it to be produced.

    But that's more a theoretical problem than a real one. It rarely matters in the real world.

    The real distinguishing feature between an HR consultancy and a lawyer is, usually, size and training. A large HR consultancy will have a triage system, with most queries being answered by operators who might have had a week or two's training. Compare that with a lawyer (or, indeed, a self-employed independent HR consultant) who has probably had years of training and experience.

    Large consultancies have a real and important position in the market, providing run of the mill advice in run of the mill cases. Some consultancies (somebody named Ellis Whittam above, and I agree that is one) are much better, and their advisors consistently give excellent advice.

    But if your case is heading to a tribunal, go with a litigator. Don't think twice about it. The large consultancies will send an 'advocate' or a 'tribunal representative' - and all you need to do is read some law reports (or appear against one) to see how the quality of such representatives can vary enormously. Of course, you can get a bad lawyer - but you're much less likely to, particularly if you've had a recommendation.
    Posted: Sep 27, 2016 By: Daniel Barnett Member since: Sep 27, 2016
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  12. carl.atkinson

    carl.atkinson UKBF Regular

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    Also worth mentioning in relation to solicitors and barristers that membership of the Employment Lawyers Association requires a degree of specialisation in employment work and provides specialist training and support to members. As a consequence it's worth establishing whether or not a lawyer who you may consider instructing in an employment case is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association and if so, for how many years.
    Posted: Dec 13, 2016 By: carl.atkinson Member since: Jul 14, 2014
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