Advice and Fees

Advice and Fees

Watkins Solicitors are proud to announce that they are now able to offer employment law advice at all three offices.

Our specialist employment law team offers expert and empathetic employment advice to employees and employers. This can range from simple matters such as advice on changes to working conditions or how to handle a difficult situation at work through to negotiating settlement agreements and handling Employment Tribunal claims, including complex and sensitive discrimination claims.

We can explain the legal implications to you and talk through your options in a straightforward manner. We will be supportive but, importantly, we will also be frank and realistic with you. Above all, we will support you and work with you to achieve the best outcome.

Time limits are short for many employment claims so you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Fees

If your employer wishes you to sign a settlement agreement, they should usually make a significant contribution to the cost of you obtaining advice on the terms and effect of the agreement.

Otherwise, legal aid is unfortunately no longer widely available for employment law issues. However, in line with our firm’s overall ethos, we aim to make justice accessible and affordable.

We have therefore developed a Special Employment Package.

Initial Advice Service

Issues at work can be uniquely stressful in that it can feel that matters are out of your control. Initial advice on your rights and options can be all that you need to regain some of that control and start to take some positive steps forward.

The Initial Advice Service includes:

  • 30 minutes of legal advice – either in person or (if more convenient to you) over the telephone; and
  • written advice, detailing exactly where you stand on the issue and your potential options.

If your claim is straightforward, we may then be able to offer a fixed fee arrangement to deal with it. If your claim is more complex, our work will be charged on a time recorded basis.

We also offer a special advice service if you have an ongoing Employment Tribunal claim. We provide you with assistance as the case progresses but we will not be on the record with the tribunal as acting for you and will not deal with any correspondence and telephone calls between you, the other party to the proceedings and the Tribunal. This saves time and expense. When you require advice on a specific point, such as a Schedule of Loss, an Agenda for Case Management at a Preliminary Hearing or a Witness Statement, we can help.

For each piece of advice whether given by email or by telephone, you will be charged a fixed fee which will be agreed with you prior to any work being carried out.

If you wish us to act in this “supported” way, then we will open a case file on your behalf and we will leave it to you to contact us when you require further advice.

Other Funding Arrangements

“No Win, no fee” Agreements

In certain cases, we may offer a Damages Based Agreement (otherwise known as a “no Win, No fee” Agreement). This is where the solicitor’s fee is calculated as a percentage of the money (or damages) recovered. So, you pay fees from the damages awarded. If no damages are won, then no fees are paid. We will make an assessment on a case by case basis as to whether your claim is suitable for this kind of arrangement.

Check your insurance policies!

It is always useful to check your household or other insurance policies as you could have legal expenses cover. If it becomes necessary to lodge a claim you have the right to select an independent solicitor of your choice to act on your behalf rather than a solicitor from the insurance company’s own panel, if you so wish.

Additional Expenses

In addition to our costs you may have to pay a fee (either £160 or £250 – depending on the type of claim) to issue a claim in the Employment Tribunal. If you are on a low income you may be exempt from all or part of the fee. We can advise you as to whether you may be entitled to a reduction in the fee and assist you with the application.

For a free telephone discussion to find out your rights – telephone 0117 939 0350 and ask to speak to Tamsin James.

Useful websites:

Direct Gov. This website provides an introduction to your employment rights.

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). Offers advice on employment rights and best practice for employers.

Employment Tribunals. Contains information about how to take a case to a tribunal.