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? In many cases you should be able to get free advice.
Let’s look at the different steps.
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.
Our 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 us and how we can help you.
All of this advice is free and there’s no obligation on you to use our service if you’re not completely happy with us.
Our fee for advice on your settlement agreement
Our standard fee for advice on a settlement agreement is £500 + VAT.
For this fee, you will receive:
- A full explanation of the terms and effect of your settlement agreement;
- Our opinion on the suitability of the offer and whether there is scope for negotiating a higher settlement for you;
- Consideration of the tax implications and whether, the payments are being made in the most tax-efficient way.
And of course, we’ll be glad to answer any of your questions.
Often your employer pays your legal costs in full
The proposed settlement agreement probably contains a clause confirming that your employer will make a contribution towards your legal costs.
This contribution may cover your fee in full, in which case there’s no charge to you personally. The legal advice is effectively free to you.
If the contribution is less than our fee, you may want to ask your employer to increase that contribution. If they agree to do that, you won’t have to pay anything personally.
If they’re not willing to pay your legal costs in full, you will only have to pay the difference between the amount of the employer contribution and our fee.
If you negotiate with your employer and we advise you how to do it
In some circumstances, it may be better for you to negotiate directly with your employer. This is likely to be the case if you have a good relationship with your employer.
If you take this approach, we don’t usually need to increase our fee. We can advise you in the background and help you to negotiate a better settlement agreement.
If we negotiate on your behalf
Often, it’s better to use a solicitor to do the negotiation for you. This is likely to be the case if:
- the amount you are being offered in the settlement agreement doesn’t reflect the value of the rights you’re giving up.
- you’re not concerned about the risk of damaging your relationship with your employer
- there are technical legal issues that need to be addressed
We will be very glad to help with you with this.
If you need us to negotiate on your behalf, we will need to increase our fee. This is because there’s much more work to do if we are communicating directly with your employer. We will let you know the likely fee after we have discussed the settlement agreement and negotiation strategy with you.
We can often 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 we successfully negotiate a better deal, you only have to pay a percentage of the increase. Prior to the negotiation process, we will agree a suitable percentage with you. The percentage will depend on a number of factors, such as:
- the amount of compensation you are seeking
- whether you would have a strong claim against your employer if no agreement is reached
- the stage at which a settlement is reached. For example, if employment tribunal proceedings become necessary, we would need to charge a higher percentage than if your employer agrees a settlement agreement early in the process.
Typically, the percentage is between 15% and 33% including VAT.
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.
Sometimes, we may not be able to offer a ‘no increase-no fee’ agreement. This may be because we don’t believe that there are good prospects of negotiating a higher settlement.
Negotiating for something other than money
Sometimes, you may need us to negotiate for something other than money. For example, this may be:
- a better reference
- removal of clauses that prevent you working for competitors
- a revised termination date.
If you choose this option, our solicitors will charge at an hourly rate of £260 + VAT. The total cost will depend on how long it takes to conclude the negotiation but typically it’s likely to be between £600 and £800 + VAT.
Usually, a settlement agreement is concluded without the need for employment tribunal proceedings (here’s why). However, if employment tribunal proceedings do become necessary, we may need to change the way we charge.
Who will advise you on your settlement agreement?
Advice on a settlement agreement is always provided by a qualified employment law solicitor. All of our solicitors have a wealth of experience in providing prompt and clear advice to employees on their settlement agreements.
All work is supervised by Andrew Crisp, who is the Principal Solicitor. He qualified as a solicitor in 1999.
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.
Free Consultation About Your Settlement Agreement
If you have received a settlement agreement, you will need to make sure you receive legal advice on it.
We advise clients throughout the UK. Call us now for a free consultation.
From a landline: 0800 531 6050
From a mobile: 0330 333 6050
Alternatively, complete the form below and we’ll contact you.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you would like a free consultation about your settlement agreement, complete the form below and we’ll give you a call.