If you’ve received a settlement agreement, your employer has probably told you that you have to get legal advice on it. A settlement agreement simply isn’t valid if the employee doesn’t get legal advice.
So, usually, the employer agrees to pay a contribution towards the legal costs of the employee getting that advice. It’s as much in the employer’s interests as it is in the employee’s. Typically, the amount of the costs contribution is between £250 and £500. But is that enough to cover all the costs?
What do you want your solicitor to do?
If you’ve already agreed the terms of the settlement agreement in principle, you may simply want a solicitor to sign it off. In practice, the solicitor will need to do more than that – they’ll have to advise you on the terms and effect of the agreement and in particular how it will affect your ability to bring a claim against your employer. Otherwise, they can’t sign to say they’ve given you the necessary advice.
Nevertheless, if you’re not particularly wanting the solicitor to challenge the amount offered or to re-draft the agreement and you’re likely to sign the agreement after the initial advice, then many solicitors will give you the advice you need for no more than the amount of your employer’s costs contribution. This will include:
- advice on the terms and effect of the settlement agreement
- discussion about the circumstances of your employment
- advice on how much money your employer should be paying you
However, the costs contribution may not be enough to cover the solicitor’s fee if your require additional items, such as advice on specific difficulties at work, negotiation or re-drafting the settlement agreement.
Will you have to pay any of the legal costs personally?
If you simply want your solicitor to give you the basic advice and sign off the agreement, you may not have to pay anything extra. The full amount of the solicitor’s costs may be covered by the employer’s costs contribution.
However, if you require your solicitor to carry out extra work on your behalf, there may be a need to increase the amount of the legal costs. This will depend on how much extra work is likely to be involved. Make sure your solicitor gives you the best possible costs information for any additional work.
Will the employer pay the increased costs contribution?
There’s no harm in asking.
Often the employer is willing to increase the contribution towards legal costs as part of the negotiation.
What should you do?
If you need legal advice on a settlement, make sure you find an employment solicitor who’s willing to provide the advice without any charge to you personally.
At Mason Bullock Solicitors, 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. And the initial consultation is always free.
Contact us now for more information.