Defending a legal claim 

We can help you by: 
Presenting a strong defence for the tribunal hearing or to encourage settlement 
Advising how to settle the claim early, and whether a settlement is in your business interests 
Representing you in negotiations or hearings 
Ensuring you conduct your defence properly to avoid additional costs or penalties 
Assessing the cause of the dispute and advising on changes to avoid future conflict 

Do I need a solicitor to help defend a legal claim? 

 
Once a claim has been made against you it is wise to seek legal advice. Investing in advice from an experienced solicitor could save you a significant amount of money and time in the long run, by successfully defending the claim, settling early or reducing the risk of damages and penalties. There are a number of benefits to seeking legal advice: 
 

Avoid costly mistakes 

Employment law is complicated and extremely wide ranging. Without specialist guidance, it’s easy to misunderstand your legal obligations. Every case is unique, so generic employment law information on the internet may not apply precisely to your circumstances. Attempting to save money by handling the case yourself could end up costing you if you make mistakes that lead to the claim being successful or miss opportunities to settle. 
 
Poor management of the claim could leave you facing increased damages. For example, the Compensatory Award can be increased by up to 25% if you do not follow ACAS guidelines. While it is unusual in a tribunal to pay the other party’s costs, you could be ordered to if your defence was baseless or the tribunal considers your conduct to be unreasonable. 
 
An experienced solicitor will help you to understand how the law applies to your specific case. They will also ensure that you follow correct procedures and eliminate unnecessary risks. 

Peace of mind 

With an experienced solicitor on your side, you will know that any advice is professional, accurate, governed by The Law Society, and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. You will also free up more of your time and energy to continue running your business. 
 

Negotiate the best possible deal 

Negotiating a settlement can be quicker, cheaper and far less stressful than taking the matter to tribunal, but only if you reach a fair settlement in your interests. We can help you to understand how strong your case is, and the possible outcomes if it were to go all the way to a tribunal, so you can be sure any payment you make is proportionate to the risk you are avoiding. We will make sure your case is presented at its best to encourage the claimant to settle, and use our experience to pitch appropriate offers and counter offers that protect your business interests. 

The process of defending a claim 

1. Becoming aware of the problem 
We advise seeking advice as early as possible. You may be able to stop the issue from escalating. You may spot the risk of a claim during internal processes. We can advise you on your disciplinary process and on making dismissals, to make sure you don’t leave yourself open to claims such as unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal or discrimination. 
 
However, most employers will first become aware of the problem when they are notified of a claim by ACAS and offered Early Conciliation. Early Conciliation is optional, but it is usually useful, as many problems can be resolved quickly and cheaply. 
 
If you get in touch with us before going through Early Conciliation, we can assess your defence before you enter discussions. This will help you to feel confident in the strength of your defence or help you to seize this opportunity if an early settlement would be in your best interests. 
 
2. Preparing a defence 
Once the claimant has submitted a claim to the tribunal , you must respond within 28 days from the date tribunal sends it to you. If you fail to respond in time, the tribunal could make an order preventing you from being heard . It is important to make the most of this time to present your case in its strongest possible terms. A strong defence could influence settlement negotiations or the outcome of a judicial assessment. It may also be difficult to rely on any arguments you do not include in your response form. 
 
3. Gathering and disclosing evidence 
We can help you to understand what information you need as evidence and what is relevant. We can also help you with presenting your case clearly in your witness statement so that is legally persuasive. 
 
The other side may request that you disclose certain information that supports their claim. It is important that you disclose the documents requested and follow the correct procedures if you disagree with the requested disclosure. 
 
The relevant information will be included in a bundle that will be used by the tribunal in the hearing. Ideally, both parties will agree on what goes into the bundle, and we can liaise with the other side on your behalf to ensure all of the information that helps your defence is included. 
 
4. Representing you at hearings 
Depending on the type of claim and the complexity of your case, it may go through preliminary hearings and judicial assessment as well as the main tribunal hearing. Our experience of representing clients at the tribunal means we put your case forward in its strongest terms and know which points to emphasise to pursue your best interests. 
 
5. Negotiations 
Negotiations may take place at any point during the process. Disputes are often better resolved by negotiating a mutually agreed settlement. If your case goes all the way to the final hearing, the judge may allow you time to try and reach an agreement with the other party. This gives you some control over what is decided so you can prioritise what matters most to you (for example, you may be willing to negotiate damages in order to ensure confidentiality). Throughout your case we can assess and advise whether it is in your best interests to settle, and what might be a beneficial settlement agreement. 
 
6. Appeals 
There is no automatic right to appeal in employment claims, but in some circumstances you (or the claimant) may be able to request a reconsideration or ask for an appeal on a point of law. We can advise you whether you might have grounds for an appeal, and how to bring an appeal. We can also help you to defend an appeal. 
 

7. Avoiding future conflict in the workplace 

Disputes can start for several reasons. Once you’ve faced a claim, it is sensible to look at whether you could change your practices to avoid the same thing happening again. Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, tightening up your policies or procedures might make it easier to defend yourself, which will deter ungrounded or vexatious claims. 
 
We can advise how to protect yourself in the future, to reduce the risk of another costly, time-consuming legal claim. 

Why choose Spencer Shaw Solicitors? 

We understand that facing a legal claim can be stressful, and you are likely to be worried about the impact on your business. We will help you to understand your options to get the best solution for you, as painlessly as possible. 
 
We are experienced working on both sides of disputes: employee and business; claimant and respondent. This means we have some insight into how employees usually approach disputes and the strengths of their claim, which we can put to good use to try and get the best possible result for you and your business. 
We believe in: 
 
Guiding you to make the best choices for your case, using our specialist knowledge and experience of employment law and procedures. 
Providing clear information on fees so that you have control of your costs right from the start. 
Actively progressing your matter. Thanks to our focus on quality of service, not quantity of cases, your issue will get the attention it needs, when it needs it. 
Keeping you up to date about your matter. You shouldn’t need to chase us to find out what is happening. 
I have used many - many - solicitors / law firms over my last 20+ years in business and I found Spencer Shaw to be very knowledgeable and able to give me some excellent initial advice. I would definitely recommend the firm to other businesses looking for high quality employment law advice. 
 
AG 
 
Very pleased with my experience of Spencer Shaw Solicitors. Our solicitor was highly professional and tenacious. Would recommend for any employment law issues. 
 
Proline Care Ltd 
If you have employment law issues this is the go to firm of solicitors. 
 
Andrew James,  
James, Stanley & Co. Chartered Accountants 
Very professional, efficient and helpful explaining everything in detail, would definitely recommend them 
 
Neil 

Get in touch 

Do you have a legal matter you'd like to discuss with us? Get in touch using the details below or use the form here and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your enquiry. 
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Phone: 0121 817 0520 
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Address: Spencer Shaw Solicitors Limited 
St Mary's House, 68 Harborne Park Road,  
Harborne, Birmingham, B17 0DH 
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Opening hours: 
Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM 
Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays - Closed 
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