Monday, 26 March 2012

Good news for businesses

Martin-Kaye's employment law team has welcomed changes to the rules on unfair dismissal and say the move is good news for businesses.

Emma Palmer, from the team, said under the new rules, employees will now have to work for an employer for two continuous years before they can make a claim.

"Previously employees only needed to complete one year's service with a company before they could bring an unfair dismissal claim, but the changes will now come into force for employees taken on after April 6.

"The move is part of the Government's aim to encourage growth by making it less risky for businesses to take new people on, and the longer qualifying period will give employers more time to establish whether someone is right for their business.

"It is hoped that this will also then lead to fewer disputes reaching the employment tribunal stage thanks to the stronger relationship between employers and their staff."

Emma said businesses should take care not to get too carried away though with the new changes and should ensure that the correct procedures were followed from an employee's very first day.

"They will still be able to bring claims which don't have a qualifying period, such as discrimination claims, so it's vital that employers follow the rules very carefully.

"The change is good news for businesses, but the consequences could be an increase in other types of claim which are often more complex and expensive. So companies should take expert advice if they are considering dismissing an employee with less than two years' service to make sure they avoid the pitfalls the system creates."

Monday, 12 March 2012

Hitting back at fees claims

Our family law partner, Nadia Davis, has hit back at claims that legal firms are failing to explain their fees clearly to clients.

The Chief Legal Ombudsman told lawyers they needed to do a better job in explaining their costs and pricing systems to customers. But Nadia said Martin-Kaye LLP Solicitors took a very different approach to many other practices.

"For a long time we have promoted fixed fees and pricing for a case even when the circumstances are unpredictable. In fact, we have just launched a fixed fee scale for dealing with the time-consuming and complex financial and property aspects of divorce.

"One of the biggest fears for anyone who is going through a family breakdown is the potential costs they may face, particularly if the case is likely to go on for a long time. Public funding is now restricted, so clients are looking for confirmed costs and they don't want any nasty surprises.

"We have structured very competitive fixed rates to help give clients a clear idea of costs, ranging from a basic divorce through to representing a client at a contested hearing. Our tariff of fixed fees is something that we believe is unique and we believe clients will find this a reassuring scheme, as the fixed fees can be paid by credit card or possibly by instalments.

"What this means is that clients can be certain that the fees will be fixed regardless of the level of work that's required, and that gives unprecedented peace of mind during a very difficult period in their lives."