One of the first issues many of my clients are concerned about when considering whether to start Employment Tribunal proceedings, is how much it will cost them and whether it is affordable. This is a very important issue and so I always give clear advice on funding during initial client consultations. Read on for more about just one funding option, termed legal expenses insurance.
One of the most common ways of funding an Employment Tribunal claim is by using something termed “legal expenses insurance”. If you have got legal expenses insurance this could mean that all of your legal costs from the point of issuing a claim will be covered. This type of cover is therefore a real asset and can save clients thousands of pounds.
Legal expenses insurance can usually be found as a benefit attached to home insurance. Some of my clients have had no idea that they have this cover in place because their insurer makes no charge for it. Other insurers may only charge a nominal sum for the benefit of between £10 to £30 a year. For this reason, the cover can easily be overlooked.
I always advise clients to check their home insurance to see if legal expenses cover is available. It is also important to check any other insurance policies held, such as car, contents, credit card, bank accounts etc… to see if the cover is included. Don’t be deterred if you can’t immediately find the words legal expenses insurance, it could be that the cover has been termed “family legal protection” or words to that effect. If in doubt, just call your insurance provider to get a clear and definitive answer.
If you have got the benefit of legal expenses insurance, or family legal protection then there are certain steps that need to be taken to access the cover on the policy. I am always happy to help clients through this process and I appreciate it can be a little daunting dealing with the paperwork.
Generally speaking, most insurers will require a summary of the key facts of the case, an assessment on prospects of the case succeeding, a valuation of the potential compensation, an estimated timeframe for the case to reach a conclusion, and the likely costs associated with pursuing the case. As I have said above, I am always happy to help clients provide this information to their insurers.
If on receipt of the above information the legal expenses insurer is happy that the claim has reasonable prospects of succeeding and it is proportionate to pursue, then they are likely to agree to cover all reasonable legal costs and disbursements. Cover tends to be available from the point that proceedings can be issued and so this would be after any internal procedures (such as grievance or discipline) and after any ACAS early conciliation.
At LincsLaw Solicitors, I am regularly instructed to represent my clients under the terms of their legal expenses insurance. This means that my clients get the benefit of a local specialist employment law solicitor, who they can see on a face to face basis as and when necessary, but without any personal cost to them.
If you think you have been treated unfairly at work, I want to help. For further information about the services I offer visit www.lincslaw.co.uk or call me for a free telephone consultation on 01522 440512.
Director, Specialist Employment Law Solicitor