Direct Advice

Direct advice from an experienced litigation barrister at an early stage often saves money and valuable time in the long run.

 

Your business needs have to be considered as well as the merits and value of any claim. We concentrate on getting the best commercial result for the client.

We have modern and comfortable conference rooms in chambers. We are also happy to visit you at your business or meet with a board of directors. 

Please see the case studies below for some examples of recent litigation involving dismissal and discrimination claims. Please see the other pages of this site for examples regarding further areas of law

Case studies

Case Study 1:

Type of client:
Private printing company based in London.

Area of law:
Religious discrimination / unfair dismissal

Summary of dispute:
A printer refused to handle certain magazine titles because he said the cover stories insulted his race and his religion. He resigned because the company said it could not change the relevant arrangements. The company initially instructed a west end firm of solicitors who allowed a senior manager to control the litigation rather than give objective commercial advice. His tactic was to make various unnecessary allegations against the former employee. There was a preliminary hearing where a Judge expressed a negative view of the company’s response. The managing director of the company attended the hearing. He decided to go directly to a barrister to get full and frank advice.

What we did for the client:
The first step was a face-to-face conference at the company’s premises. This meant all the relevant individuals could easily attend and the barrister could gain a better understanding of the business. After a frank and lively meeting, the managing director accepted that the best tactic was to concentrate on the reasons why the company could not accommodate the employee’s demand. A fixed fee had been agreed for this conference based on the number of hours it would take to read the main documents and discuss the claim with the client.

Witness statements had not yet been exchanged, so the next step was to identify the necessary witnesses and assist with preparation of their statements. A fixed fee was also agreed in advance for this work. The trial had been listed for 8 days on the basis that the company was calling various witnesses to give evidence about the extent and nature of the employee’s religious belief and sensitivity. On the barrister’s advice, these witnesses were not considered necessary. The trial was relisted for only 4 days. This saved considerable time and money.

Outcome:
On the first day of the trial, the employee’s lawyer accepted that the company would succeed in showing that their treatment of the employee was justified (and therefore not indirect discrimination). Because the company had dropped the personal allegations against the employee, a settlement was agreed whereby the employee withdrew all claims and was paid only a nominal sum. This was paid because there had been various procedural errors when dismissing the employee and it was very likely that he would succeed in the unfair dismissal claim.

Case Study 2:

Type of client:
Director and (medical) company.

Area of law:
Disability discrimination / unfair dismissal

Summary of dispute:
An employee resigned because he said that the director had made fun of his disability and the company had unfairly made him subject to a capability procedure. Both the company and the director were named as Respondents. The company had been advised by a solicitor that the employee had no claim and they shouldn’t worry even though he was clearly disabled. The employee then issued a detailed claim drafted by an employment specialist. The solicitor said they had no choice but to prepare for a very long trial. The company wanted more options and a second opinion so came directly to a barrister.

What we did for the client:
There was no conflict of interest between the director and the company, so we advised and assisted them both throughout the litigation. We drafted a Defence for them (an “ET3”) and advised that they should obtain a medical report on whether or not the employee was disabled. After the report was obtained, we advised and assisted with an application to strike out the claims at a preliminary hearing.

Outcome:
The tribunal struck out the disability claim at the preliminary hearing and ordered him to pay a deposit for the unfair dismissal claim. The unfair dismissal claim did not proceed further as the employee withdrew it prior to the due date for the deposit (and in return for a neutral reference).

Time is often of the essence where legal matters are concerned.

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7815 3200 or email clerks@fivepaperemployment.com 

to discuss your issue today.