What I have set out below are initial considerations if you have an employment law issue and are seeking advice. If you consider the below and try to obtain the information, you will save a lot of time and anguish trying to get help / advice.
1. Do you have legal expenses cover?
a. You need to check for this asap.
b. It is most commonly found under your home insurance – lots of people have legal expenses cover and don’t realise.
c. If you don’t have it, think about adding it to your policy for future issues. It is relatively inexpensive and often comes with £50,000 worth of cover.
d. Any lawyer you consult should make you check for cover.
e. If you don’t have insurance, can you get funding and / or pay for advice. If not, think about why you are contacting a lawyer and instead look for free sources of information / advice (I have given some below).
3. What do you want help with / the employment lawyer to do?
a. You need to think about this.
b. Is it just advice. Do you want them to engage with your employer, bring a claim in the employment tribunal etc.
c. If it’s just to talk things though, this is rarely helpful / appropriate. The employment lawyer is restricted in what they can do during the first phone call. The initial considerations (for the lawyer) will be to determine if you have legal expenses cover, what help you are looking for and what needs to be done to produce the advice /work you want.
d. The lawyer will be reluctant (and rightly so) to give much, if any, advice during the first call. The wider picture and key documents must be considered first. There are also regulatory requirements that must be completed before you can become a “client” and receive advice.
4. Can you make the claim you are considering?
a. For example, do you have the requisite length of service? If you are looking to bring a claim of unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal, you need at least two years’ continuous service.
i. There are exceptions to this, for example if you allege that your dismissal was discriminatory or because of whistleblowing. You will need to discuss this with an employment lawyer. You also need to check you received all entitlements at dismissal (notice pay, holiday pay etc).
b. Is your claim in time? The time limit is often 3 months less 1 day. For example, if your employment ended on the 15th of January 2016, the deadline to start Early Acas Conciliation would be the 14th of April 2016.
5. Do you have all the documents collated and ready to share?
a. To quote, or at least consider your case, your lawyer will need to read the key documents.
b. You need to have these ready to share. Ideally, collate everything, place it in date order, and either scan or copy it.
c. If its scanned, you can email it directly to your lawyer. If you copy it, you can keep the documents and post the copies to your lawyer.
d. There are lots of good free scanning apps on smart phones, photographs of documents are hard to read and don’t print well.
e. This will take time and effort, but it’s worth it. Your lawyer is likely to require you to do this anyway. If your documents are all over the place and you want your lawyer to organise them, this may not be a problem, but it may increase your quote.
Key Points & Conclusion
* Think about / do the above before contacting a lawyer.
* This can be a stressful process, my aim is to reduce that stress by providing key information.
* A list of sources (many free) of advice can be found here.
* Another free source that may help can be found here.
This blog is for information purposes only. Nothing should be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice and nothing written should be construed as legal advice or perceived as creating a lawyer-client relationship.
What Clients Say…
"Blair Toner is an outstanding employment law resource. I have instructed him in every type of employment tribunal hearing and am always impressed by his level of preparation and service offered."Chris Cook, Head of Employment, Partner
“I have instructed Blair Toner in a wide range of employment matters. Having witnessed Blair in action at the employment tribunal, I have first-hand experience of his abilities and skills. His attention to detail and knowledge of the minutest details of the legislation is most impressive, and is what makes him stand out as one of the best advocates I have instructed.”Aarti Jagpal, Solicitor
“Blair represented us in an Employment Tribunal claim from start to finish, including acting as our Advocate at the Trial. At all times Blair was extremely reassuring and professional in guiding us through the process and ensuring that we presented our strongest case. It was great to work with him and he represented us excellently."Kuhrt, Executive Director, West London Mission