What are the costs for making an employment tribunal claim?
People may want to take legal action against their employer for many reasons such as unfair dismissal, maternity and pregnancy disputes or disability discrimination – but some people stop short of seeing it through over fears it will be too expensive or leave them out of pocket.
In July 2017, the government removed fees for employees wishing to make a claim at an employment tribunal. Previously, they faced paying up to £1,200 simply to bring a claim forward whereas now it is entirely free. It is therefore no surprise that employment tribunal claims have now increased by up to 90% since fees have been removed.
Nevertheless, pursuing a claim through the tribunal process can still potentially be expensive when you take into account legal fees and this often comes at a time when that is more of a concern if employment has come to an end.
Funding for Employment Tribunal claims through home contents insurance
What many people may not know is that often funding is available for an Employment Tribunal claim through their own home contents insurance by something known as legal expenses insurance (LEI).
LEI is a free add on to your home contents insurance, similar to when a bank offers free travel insurance as part of a current account. This LEI cover means your home insurance company will pay the cost of a solicitor to pursue an Employment Tribunal claim on your behalf and you are not left out of pocket as a result.
Accessing LEI cover can be difficult if your home insurance company doesn’t believe you have a good chance of success or the circumstances don’t meet their requirements for funding. If they do grant funding, this can also come with a catch. They may try and select a cheaper solicitor to act on your behalf, saving them money but costing you in the long run.
You are legally entitled to appoint your own solicitor under this insurance cover and should not feel pressurised into accepting sub-standard legal representation. Your solicitor should be able to expertly guide you through the process and represent your best interests at the tribunal, leading to a more favourable outcome.
Legal expenses cover funds unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim
Our specialist employment solicitors at Digby Brown have already helped people across Scotland secure funding through their home contents insurance.
In one case, our client was dismissed after a workplace injury prevented him from carrying out his daily duties. We secured funding through his legal expenses insurer to raise a claim of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination, resulting in the client being awarded a significant financial settlement – which he received in full and all without him paying a penny in legal costs
The time limit to pursue an Employment Tribunal claim is very short. If you are considering doing so then please contact us.
By Ross Milvenan, Associate