Leading South East law firms to launch innovative employment law service

News  |   28 September 2016

We are thrilled to announce the launch of a new legal services initiative, Collaborative Employment Law (‘CEL’). We have joined forces with a group of south-east law firms to offer this service.

A group of south east law firms are thrilled to announce the launch of a new legal services initiative, Collaborative Employment Law (‘CEL’), on 12 September. The four founding law firms: Thomson Snell & Passmore, Brachers, Furley Page and Thackray Williams, are providing the service to their clients to minimise the stress of the litigation process without going to employment tribunal or court.

This is a new offering to UK employment law, where specially trained employment lawyers at all the participating firms will work together to resolve employment and workplace disputes in a non-adversarial way to ensure a quick and cost effective employment related dispute resolution outcome for both employer and employee sides.

CEL lawyers are professionally trained and hold an ACAS Certificate of Internal Workplace Mediation or equivalent in order to expertly advise on resolving employment disputes in a constructive setting. CEL is different from conventional mediation as it does not involve an independent third party mediator, enabling a more efficient and collaborative negotiation between the parties and their lawyers to reach an agreed settlement. On the rare occurrence that CEL does not produce a resolution, the parties will not be required to change their lawyers in order to continue seeking a legal solution. Furthermore, the CEL process is confidential and provides an accessible service in which clients can resolve their disputes in a more efficient, less stressful and cost effective manner, than going through the courts.

Both the employer and employee must choose to use CEL and sign a participation agreement. Each side will nominate their CEL lawyer from participating firms before a meeting is arranged within 14-21 days. The parties will then prepare, with help from the collaborative lawyers, opening statements setting out the resolution they are each seeking to achieve and the CEL lawyers will help both parties to explore areas of agreement, consensus or mutual interest and build on those to try and make sure that resolution is achieved.

Nick Hobden, Partner and Head of the Employment Team at Thomson Snell & Passmore, comments:

“We are proud to be rolling out this innovative new service alongside our founding partner firms. Often employment disputes are highly charged and emotional for those involved. People become entrenched in their views and positions. The resulting court or tribunal case perpetuates that entrenchment to the point of no return, i.e. a hearing at which the outcome is taken away from them, placed in the hands of a judge or tribunal hearing; and then each case is decided on the weight of evidence and whether one witness appears more credible than the other. CEL will put the control for resolving conflict or issues back into the hands of our clients. It aims to shorten the legal process, make it more amicable, less disruptive and less expensive.

“This initiative fortifies our commitment to responding to challenges in the sector to provide clients with the highest quality legal advice and service. Through constantly adapting to meet our clients’ needs we have remained a resilient law firm who has, and will, continue to serve our clients for future generations to come.”