What happens when an employee contacts us.
Whether you are experiencing discrimination, struggling with a disciplinary situation, are contemplating lodging an Employment Tribunal claim, or have been offered a Settlement Agreement by your employer, we can help.
Initial contact is handled by our reception team who will take your details and a brief summary of the problem. If it is urgent, you need to make this clear to our receptionists so they can ensure a solicitor will prioritise your enquiry.
If you have a disability and need us to make any adjustments to the way in which we deliver our services, please let us know. We will do our utmost to meet your needs.
One of our lawyers will then ring you or email to discuss how we can help. This first discussion with you will be free of charge. This enables us to gain an understanding of the issue(s), discuss your funding options, any steps you need to take immediately and how we can help. We will provide a time estimate of how much work will be required to assess your case and what this will cost.
Martin Searle Solicitors offer a number of funding options to suit your situation and needs. The first hour is charged at the discounted rate of £150 + VAT. After that our lawyers charge different hourly rates ranging from £220 + VAT to £295 + VAT. Where your employer is offering a financial contribution towards you seeking independent legal advice, we will advise on whether this is adequate and also whether the compensation offered is fair. We will find out how much you can afford and allocate a lawyer with the necessary expertise.
Once we have received your documents, draft grievance or summary of events, or Settlement Agreement, we will be able to confirm whether we can provide our advice within the initial estimate.
Where there is a high volume of documentation to read or complex legal issues to research, we will advise you as to the additional time it will take to assess your case and provide a revised estimate. We will not undertake any additional work until you have authorised us to do so.
We are aware that employment advice and representation is expensive and we aim to do everything possible to ensure that our services are accessible and value for money.
You may have the benefit of legal expenses insurance which will cover your legal fees. This could be part of a general insurance scheme, provided by your bank account or part of a more general insurance package for your home contents or buildings insurance.
Legal expenses insurers will usually refer you to their preferred firm of solicitors. You have the right, however, to choose your own solicitor to represent you in tribunal.
We have considerable experience of dealing with legal expenses insurers on behalf of our clients. We will ensure that funding is provided at the earliest possible stage so that you can instruct a specialist lawyer of your choice.
Publicly funded assistance is only available in discrimination cases under the Equality Act 2010. If you think you may be eligible, the Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0845 345 4345 will undertake a means test and refer you to a legal help employment law advisor.
If you are an employee and we have assessed your case as having a strong chance of succeeding, we may be able to offer a Damages Based Agreement. We will usually require you to pay for an assessment of your case by using our initial advice assessment scheme.