Some legal expenses insurance contains legal cover for representation in the Employment Tribunal
Not many people are aware, but you may find that you have legal expenses insurance for employment advice included in your home or other insurance.
If you have a problem at work or think that one may arise it is worth digging out your policy and checking if you have cover.
If you have legal expenses cover, then provided your claim enjoys reasonable prospects of success (normally considered to be over 51%), the insurer will fund your Employment Tribunal claim in full or in part.
In order to determine the prospects of success, the insurer usually requests that an assessment of the merits is undertaken by a solicitor from their own panel of solicitors. If, following the assessment, the insurer agrees to fund the claim, you are able to choose a solicitor to undertake the claim on your behalf, although your insurer may request that you use their own solicitors, this is not mandatory to obtain cover.
If, following the assessment, the insurer deems the claim has no reasonable prospects of success (normally less than 51% chance of success) and refuses to fund the claim, you can dispute this with them and obtain an independent assessment of the claim.
It should be noted that the insurer will only cover the costs incurred in respect of the Employment Tribunal claim. This means that any costs relating to a grievance or disciplinary process, or the ACAS early conciliation process would not be covered. However, in most cases you would be able to handle these processes, without the need for legal representation.
Of course, if you felt assistance would be helpful, we regularly deal with grievances and disciplinary matters and can tailor our service and the costs to meet your needs. We also offer an initial free 30-minute consultation, should you wish to discuss matters before deciding whether to instruct us.
Having the insurer cover your legal fees in an Employment Tribunal claim can be extremely beneficial, as it means that you do not have to worry about fees during, what will be, an already stressful process. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of when having the insurer fund the claim which are:
- The insurance provider may not necessarily cover all of your legal expenses, for example if their panel advisor rate is £100 per hour and your own advisor is £180 per hour then you may be required to pay the difference. Please note, we would not normally ask you to make up any difference in the fees.
- The insurance provider may agree to cover some claims but not others. This is an issue I have come across recently, where the assessment of the merits of the claim have been undertaken, and only some claims are deemed to have a 51% chance of success, for example they may agree to fund an unfair dismissal claim, but not any discrimination claims. In this instance, you would be required to pay for the costs incurred in relation to the claims not covered. However, we would always try and keep these costs to a minimum where possible.
- The insurer will want regular updates on the claim and will want to be informed if the prospects of the claim fall below 51%.
- The insurer will want to be informed of any settlement offers, and may, if they consider an offer to be reasonable, insist you accept the offer. If this happens, and you decide not to accept, it is likely the insurance provider will stop funding the claim at this point, and you would be required to fund the claim going forwards.
If you are experiencing issues at work and are considering your options, or of you have commenced an Employment Tribunal claim, and consider you need some guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01983 897003.