When making an employment tribunal claim (or indeed any legal claim) it would be wise to check your various insurance policies. Within certain policies it may contain an additional add on which gives you potential cover for any legal action that you might need to take, this is known as legal expense insurance or LEI. A Ministry of Justice report from 2007 has found that although about 59% of the UK population actually has some form of legal expense insurance in their policy. It is clear that not all of that percentage knew that it existed and had just had it included as another add on in their policy.
This means that if after submitting the details of your case to your insurers and they feel that you have a better than even prospect of success they will fund any costs that you may entail during the legal process. It is however useful to bear in mind that often on these policies there will be a limit to the amount of costs that they would be willing to pay for. This is not a hard and fast value so always check with your policy before attempting to go for the most expensive lawyers out there.
When speaking to your insurers if you have to make a claim on your legal expense insurance they will often try to inform you that you have to chose a solicitor from their panel or have to go with one that is appointed by them. This is not the case, you can choose the solicitors that you want to act on your behalf (this is enshrined in statute as a right to choose your representation ). If you are doing this you will need to inform your insurers of the firm that you are looking to instruct so as to authorise them to act on your behalf. Without this authorisation the insurers will be unlikely to discuss the case with the solicitors.
The positives for you is that with legal expense insurance you are more likely to be able to get a firm of solicitors to take you case forward. Especially if your case is one which is not a completely clear cut case as no matter what happens, be it win, settle or lose the insurers will pay the solicitors all the costs that you have incurred and you won’t have to pay them a penny. The solicitors will also have to have a clear record of what work they have done on your case to ensure payment, so theoretically it should mean your solicitor will always be putting his best effort into ensure that they receive their payment when the case has been completed.
So if at any point you need to consider legal action, before you start raiding your bank account it is always best to check your insurance just in case you have the elusive LEI that could save you from financial turmoil.