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taratill
taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6305
Experience:  15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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I have had an Employment Tribunal claim going for almost 5

Resolved Question:

I have had an Employment Tribunal claim going for almost 5 years now. The Respondent firm - a large bank - has engaged an external firm to represent them, and this firm has done a bad job thus far (in my opinion). Last year, the Respondent tried to engage ACAS and settle under the argument that the overall costs to defend the claim (especially after 5 years) would be in excess of the potential cost to settle. However, ultimately, the tribunal dates were re-scheduled and the Respondent dropped the request to ACAS. Now, the case is coming up for a 4 day hearing in March, and my question is, how should I go about potentially feeling out if the Respondent is going to make an offer? Should I just engage them directly and be blunt (e.g. tell them that I will be coming unless we settle beforehand). Should I pose the question to ACAS? Or should I just wait it out and hope they come to me first? Also, do you have any estimate on what the per hour cost is when large firms engage solicitors? As I mentioned, the solicitors have done a terrible job and I don't think it inconceivable that the Respondent has already spent in excess of 30-30k so far. Thanks, cheers!

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  taratill replied 3 years ago.

taratill : Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I am happy to help you today. Is there an appointed ACAS officer and has any offer been made to date?
Customer: Yes, there is an appointed ACAS officer and no offer has been made from the Respondents side, just my side. When the Respondent first contacted ACAS last year and flirted with making an offer, the ACAS officer said that it is routine for the Claimant to offer a number first. So I floated a number from my Schedule of Loss, but that number was intended as a foil since it was far in excess even of what the Tribunal max award is (after all, after 5 years, costs have accrued). I expected that if the Respondent was serious, they would have countered but did not make a counteroffer. I suspect the Respondents representative was of the mind that there was no reason to try to settle when the dates are still in flux when the last trial dates were postponed. However, now that the trial has been rescheduled and the dates are set (and the employment judge has affirmed by order that no further postponement will be entertained except in emergency situations), the Respondent may reach out to try to end it now. However. I could use advice on how best to drive to that goal this time around.
taratill :

Hi you should phone the ACAS officer to say that you are serious about the claim and that you intend to take it all the way but that you are realistic and need to look at the options to settle. You should say that you stick by your original schedule of loss and that you want them to make you an offer to settle.

taratill :

You need to have in mind what figure you are prepared to go to as they may ask you to make them an offer.

taratill :

There costs will be in excess of £200 an hour if they are engaging a large firm to do the work.

taratill :

If you have any further questions about his please do let me know.

Customer: Thanks for you
Customer: Sorry for hitting "Return" prematurely. First, thank you for your response. I do have one final follow-up question for you. I'm a foreigner (USA) who will be defending myself in the hearing, so I could use some final advice. Are there any tips or advice you can offer me as someone defending my own claim? Obviously, the Respondent is being represented by a high-priced international firm in this matter and has probably already spent in excess of 20k (especially if that 200 per hour number is XXXXX accurate). One thing I have going for me is that in the past 2 years, 2 of their key witnesses have left the firm and likely cannot or will not appear, probably weakening their defense. But outside of that, do you have any advice you might avail me of as I prepare to appear in a few weeks' time? And also, what is the likelihood that the Tribunal would make a costs judgement against me, absent of any obviously vexatious behavior on my part? Thanks again, I've very much appreciated the information you have provided so far. Kind regards.
taratill :

Can I just clarify that it is your intention to come to the UK to fight this?

Customer: Yes, I have my tickets purchased and hotel squared away as well. This is the second time I'll be coming for the hearing. In February 2012, I had come over for the hearing then, but at the last minute, the Tribunal needed to cancel it owing to a lack of a judge. Now it has been re-scheduled, and I remain as dedicated to appearing as ever. Regards.
taratill :

sorry for the slight delay. As a claimant in person the tribunal will assist you, as much as possible, in bringing your claim.

taratill :

So long as you have complied with all of the orders of the tribunal you should not face any particular difficulties.

taratill :

It may help you if you list each aspect of the claim and connect it to the evidence you are presenting as this will clarify the issues for you in your mind.

taratill :

If you have any specific questions please do ask.

taratill :

If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.

taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6305
Experience: 15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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