Can you afford to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal?
Legal Expenses Insurance
It can be costly for an employee to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal which may ultimately deter people from pursuing their rights in employment law cases including unfair or constructive dismissal, discrimination issues and equal pay. However, if you have legal expenses insurance the costs of pursuing your claim may be covered.
Many people have legal expenses insurance but do not know that they have it and, if they have it, many people are not aware that it may cover employment issues. Legal expenses insurance is usually purchased with home/building insurance or through membership of a trade union or as a benefit attached to your bank account. You should check your insurance policy documents and the terms and conditions of other packaged products to see if you are covered.
Most legal expenses insurance policies require their policyholders to report a claim to them as soon as possible, over the telephone or in writing. For claims involving employment law, a claimant should act quickly because time limits are very tight (often three months less one day to start ACAS Early Conciliation). There will also be a limit with regard to how much can be claimed which will be set out in your policy. In addition, most legal expenses insurance providers will only agree to fund your case if they consider your claim has a 51% or higher chance of success and consider that the cost of bringing proceedings is proportionate to the value of your claim.
Many legal expense insurers will also insist on you using their own panel of legal advisers. However, in most cases, you do have freedom to instruct a solicitor of your own choosing to represent you usually from the point that legal proceedings need to be started – i.e. when negotiations have failed and it has been decided, by the solicitors involved, that it will be necessary to issue proceedings to progress the legal case.