These pages are addressed to a parent who is looking at our precedent pages and who is trying to find an adviser. Equally the information below may be useful for a generalist adviser who is looking for specialist advice for a client.
This document is intended to give you some information about how you may fund your case and how to find the right adviser.
Note that fees to bring claims in Employment Tribunals are being introduced in the summer of 2013. Please read our article on Tribunal fees.
1. Legal Expenses Insurance
You should check to see if you have legal expenses insurance. This might be an additional benefit (even if you are not aware of it) of home contents insurance. Other types of insurance policy which may include this include: car, credit card, mortgage or AA membership. Policy holders are often not aware that their insurance includes cover for legal expenses, so check all of your policies. If you have insurance you are entitled to choose your lawyer. In some cases it is an offence for the insurer not to allow you to choose your lawyer. The Regulations which confirm an individual’s right to choose their own lawyer are the Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations S.I. 1990/1159.
It is essential to find an adviser who understands maternity and family friendly rights. Working Families can recommend firms that specialise in this area of law you can contact us on 0300 012 0312 or or we suggest you consult a legal directory such as Chambers.
2. Free advice from a voluntary organisation
You can get more advice and information from the Working Families' website. We specialise in family friendly rights and in addition to these pages we have a free advice helpline 0300 012 0312. You can also contact us by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other sources of help include Law Centres, Citizens Advice Bureaux or other advice agencies. Both the Law Centres Federation and Citizens Advice have websites where you can see whether there is a Law Centre or CAB near you. Some agencies have more expertise in employment law than others and many are restricted to advising people within their particular catchment area. It is worth asking to see somebody there who does have employment expertise.
The charity Law Works may be able to offer free mediation or casework
The following may be able to arrange for you to be represented at the final hearing. In order to obtain help from these agencies you will need to be referred by either an advice agency or a solicitor. If you want to find free representation, you should try to find someone to represent you as soon as the employment tribunal has given you a hearing date(s).
3. The Equality and Human Rights Commission
You may be able to obtain legal support from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in cases of discrimination. EHRC provides free information, advice and support through the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS). The EHRC will sometimes fund a case but they have very limited resources and receive many more requests for help than they can cope with. Working Families can advise you about your case and may be able to help with an EHRC referral. You can contact us on 0300 012 0312.
4. Public Funding by Legal Services Commission
The Legal Services Commission does not pay the costs of representation at Tribunal hearings. However, public funding, which is subject to a strict means test, covers some of the costs of preparing a discrimination case. If you think you might be eligible for public funding, find out more about civil legal aid and how to access it.
5. Trade Unions
If you are a member of a Trade Union, you should ask your union to support you in bringing your case. It may be that your union will offer you representation by a Trade Union official, or by one of the union’s own lawyers. Sometimes a union will agree to pay for a lawyer of your own choosing.
6. No win, no fee
Some solicitors firms will offer assistance on a “no win no fee” basis. In employment cases, this is likely only where you have a strong claim and you are likely to recover sufficient compensation to cover the costs of the legal assistance.
7. Paying for advice yourself
If you are able to afford to do this, we suggest that you instruct a solicitor who is an expert in maternity and family friendly rights. A good solicitor will give you honest advice about the strengths and weaknesses of your case, the likely costs and s/he should try to resolve your case as soon as possible and so keep the costs you have to pay to a minimum. Working Families can recommend firms to approach (call us on 0300 012 0312) or we suggest you consult a legal directory such as Chambers.