If your employer has offered you a settlement agreement, you’ll have to get legal advice on it. But how much is that going to cost?
Let’s look at the different options.
Free Initial consultation
One of the first things you should do when you receive an offer of a settlement agreement is pick up the phone and speak to a solicitor.
Most solicitors offer a free initial consultation of up to half an hour. This is usually enough time for you to:
- explain your situation
- obtain advice on what steps you should take next
- find out whether the amount you’re being offered is suitable
During the initial consultation, you can also learn more about the solicitor, how they can help you and how they charge for their services.
Usually your employer pays your legal costs in full
The proposed settlement agreement probably contains a clause confirming that your employer will pay your legal costs. The amount of this contribution is typically capped at between £250 and £500.
If you’re basically happy with the settlement agreement, then the fee will probably be no more than that contribution. This means that there will be no cost to you personally.
However, if you need your solicitor to help you with negotiation, the amount of the contribution may not be enough to cover your costs in full.
So what will be the cost of negotiating a better settlement agreement?
Many solicitors will charge an hourly rate for negotiating on your behalf. There are two problems with this approach:
- You don’t know what the total cost is going to be
- You will have to pay your solicitor, whether or not the negotiation is successful.
Some solicitors however will negotiate for you on a ‘no increase-no fee‘ basis. The advantages of this are:
- You only pay if the negotiation is successful
- Your costs only increase in proportion to the increased compensation your employer pays out
If your solicitor successfully negotiates a better deal, you only have to pay a percentage (usually 33%) of the increase.
For example, if your employer offered you £20,000 and your solicitor negotiates on your behalf and obtains a payment of £29,000. The increase is £9,000. Your solicitor will be paid £3,000. You will receive £26,000.
If your employer refuses to increase the compensation payment to you, you don’t have to pay your solicitor anything. There’s no risk to you.
What should you do?
If you need legal advice on a settlement, contact us for a free consultation.
We can provide you with the advice you need quickly and easily by telephone and email. Many of our clients never pay us a penny – the costs are paid in full by their employer.
If you would like us to negotiate for you, we can often do that on a ‘no increase-no fee’ basis, which means there’s no risk to you.