Employee shareholders required to get independent legal advice before rights loss

Employee shareholders

On Friday the 26th of April 2013 Parliament  approved the new status of the employee shareholder in the Growth and Infrastructure bill. However this is subject to a number of caveats not originally contained or intended within the first draft bill introduced.

Clause 27 of the Bill (containing the provisions originally envisaged) had been roundly criticised by both the House of Lords and a number of other organisations because of the effect it would have on employees.

The controversial clause sought to create this new class of employee where those taking this 'opportunity' would give up various rights including the right to:

1. request flexible hours;

2. request study leave; and

3. claim unfair dismissal in some cases.

An employee shareholder can now receive between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares in their employer company. These shares will then be exempt from certain taxation implications on sale. If an employee takes these shares then they will lose certain employment rights such as the right to claim for unfair dismissal. The employee offered this option will also need to be given a full statement of the rights that they will lose and also the benefits that they will gain from the shares offered.

It seems a sensible course of action given the technical nature of the statutory rights that are being lost that the 'employee shareholder agreement' will not be effective until both of the following items have been concluded satisfactorily:

•the individual takes advice from a solicitor, barrister or qualifying trade union official on the terms and effect of the proposed employee shareholder agreement with the reasonable costs of that advice to be paid by the company; and

•a seven day "cooling off" period has passed since the day on which the individual received that advice.

It should be noted that where an advisor is required to give advice they must also advise on the other side of the bargain, namely the effect of being an employee shareholder. This will require the advisor to advice on the effect and benefit of being a shareholder in the business.

Employers who use unpaid interns are being warned they could be breaking the law and flouting national minimum wage legislation.


Employee Shareholders required to get Independent Legal Advice before rights loss: Hot off the press!

On Friday the 26th of April 2013 Parliament  approved the new status of the employee shareholder in the Growth and Infrastructure bill. However this is subject to a number of caveats not originally contained or intended within the first draft bill introduced.
Clause 27 of the Bill (containing the provisions originally envisaged) had been roundly criticised by both the House of Lords and a number of other organisations because of the effect it would have on employees.
The controversial clause sought to create this new class of employee where those taking this 'opportunity' would give up various rights including the right to:
1. request flexible hours;
2. request study leave; and
3. claim unfair dismissal in some cases.
An employee shareholder can now receive between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares in their employer company. These shares will then be exempt from certain taxation implications on sale. If an employee takes these shares then they will lose certain employment rights such as the right to claim for unfair dismissal. The employee offered this option will also need to be given a full statement of the rights that they will lose and also the benefits that they will gain from the shares offered.
It seems a sensible course of action given the technical nature of the statutory rights that are being lost that the 'employee shareholder agreement' will not be effective until both of the following items have been concluded satisfactorily:
•the individual takes advice from a solicitor, barrister or qualifying trade union official on the terms and effect of the proposed employee shareholder agreement with the reasonable costs of that advice to be paid by the company; and
•a seven day "cooling off" period has passed since the day on which the individual received that advice.
It should be noted that where an advisor is required to give advice they must also advise on the other side of the bargain, namely the effect of being an employee shareholder. This will require the advisor to advice on the effect and benefit of being a shareholder in the business.

Employers using unpaid interns fall foul of minimum wage

Employers who use unpaid interns are being warned they could be breaking the law and flouting national minimum wage legislation.
Employers who use unpaid interns are being warned they could be breaking the law and flouting national minimum wage legislation.
The warning comes as 100 employers have been referred to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) by the employment minister Jo Swinson following a campaign by Intern Aware, to raise awareness of the practice.
The employers will be investigated by HMRC under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, which requires workers to be paid the national minimum wage, currently £6.19 per hour for over 21’s.
Branding unpaid internships for young people as “exploitative and often illegal”, Intern Aware are pushing for payment for all work experience placements.
The employment minister has supported the campaign, saying that: "There is a significant problem in society where people are being exploited for no money when they should be being paid. We have got to change attitudes and make sure companies realise it is not appropriate. Where there is a job that needs doing, then it needs to be treated as a job and not be done be someone who is not being paid. This attacks the national minimum wage."
Following the move, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has urged any unpaid interns who feel they are being exploited to contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline.
Explained employment law expert Jane Dismore of Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP: "We are seeing an increasing number of employers who are worried about possible HMRC investigation if they offer unpaid work experience placements. The problem arises because of a grey area around the difference between a genuine short term work experience placement, designed to give a young person a brief flavour of a particular job, and a longer term placement where there’s a real role which attracts a right to payment, but the intern isn’t getting paid.”
She added: ”The problem is compounded by a lack of clear guidance from HMRC, but employers need to get their house in order and make sure they’re not flouting minimum wage legislation.”
ENDS
This information is not intended as legal advice

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/apr/12/unpaid-interns-100-firms-investigated

http://www.internaware.org/


Employers who use unpaid interns are being warned they could be breaking the law and flouting national minimum wage legislation.

Unpaid Interns

The warning comes as 100 employers have been referred to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) by the employment minister Jo Swinson following a campaign by Intern Aware, to raise awareness of the practice.

The employers will be investigated by HMRC under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, which requires workers to be paid the national minimum wage, currently £6.19 per hour for over 21’s.

Branding unpaid internships for young people as “exploitative and often illegal”, Intern Aware are pushing for payment for all work experience placements.

The employment minister has supported the campaign, saying that: "There is a significant problem in society where people are being exploited for no money when they should be being paid. We have got to change attitudes and make sure companies realise it is not appropriate. Where there is a job that needs doing, then it needs to be treated as a job and not be done be someone who is not being paid. This attacks the national minimum wage."

Following the move, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has urged any unpaid interns who feel they are being exploited to contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline.

Explained employment law expert Jane Dismore of Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP: "We are seeing an increasing number of employers who are worried about possible HMRC investigation if they offer unpaid work experience placements. The problem arises because of a grey area around the difference between a genuine short term work experience placement, designed to give a young person a brief flavour of a particular job, and a longer term placement where there’s a real role which attracts a right to payment, but the intern isn’t getting paid.”

She added: ”The problem is compounded by a lack of clear guidance from HMRC, but employers need to get their house in order and make sure they’re not flouting minimum wage legislation.”


Export Week: High Growth Markets 13-17 May 2013 UKTI

Export Week is a week of high-profile events throughout the UK promoting exporting to businesses. A series of seminars and events will be held to offer unique and informed advice on how to go about doing business almost anywhere in the world, especially the fast-growing markets of the Far East that are the defining characteristics of business in the 21st century.
The global economic centre of gravity has shifted towards high-growth markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, and others such as Colombia, Indonesia and Qatar. Increasing numbers of UK companies are prospering by exporting to these markets. With so many millions of potential new customers, low-cost communications, and improving infrastructure many more, smaller UK companies are amongst those making journeys to Rio or Riyadh, Moscow or Mexico City - and sealing deals for what they have to offer. The time to act is now.
At UK Trade & Investment we know that expansion into high-growth markets can be easier said than done. We manage a range of support for exporters, whether first-time or experienced, large or small, to ensure lasting success overseas and at home. We also know that one of the biggest investments any company can make is in their time, and we hope that the expertise and advice we’re making available to businesses throughout High Growth Markets week can help put UK businesses on a fast track to success.
Events being held throughout the East of England during Export week are:
13 May - Nigeria Master Class - St John’s Innovation Centre, Cambridge.
13 May - Doing Business in Turkey - Alconbury Weald, Huntingdon.
14 May - Middle East Education Seminar - Downing College, Cambridge.
15 May - Web Trading and E-commerce in Emerging Markets - BioPark, Hertfordshire.
15 May - UK Export Finance Master Class - Felaw Maltings, Suffolk.
16 May - Brazil Master Class - Hethel Engineering Centre, Norfolk.
17 May - Winning Business in China & India: Supporting Mid-sized businesses to export more
- Venue TBC

For information on the events being held during Export Week please visit: www.exportweek.ukti.gov.uk

For information and enquiriesregarding the events, please contact:

Leon Palmer

UKTI East

01707 398728

l.palmer@uktieast.org.uk@UKTIEast


Export week: High growth markets 13-17th may

Export Week is a week of high-profile events throughout the UK promoting exporting to businesses. A series of seminars and events will be held to offer unique and informed advice on how to go about doing business almost anywhere in the world, especially the fast-growing markets of the Far East that are the defining characteristics of business in the 21st century.

The global economic centre of gravity has shifted towards high-growth markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, and others such as Colombia, Indonesia and Qatar. Increasing numbers of UK companies are prospering by exporting to these markets. With so many millions of potential new customers, low-cost communications, and improving infrastructure many more, smaller UK companies are amongst those making journeys to Rio or Riyadh, Moscow or Mexico City - and sealing deals for what they have to offer. The time to act is now.

At UK Trade & Investment we know that expansion into high-growth markets can be easier said than done. We manage a range of support for exporters, whether first-time or experienced, large or small, to ensure lasting success overseas and at home. We also know that one of the biggest investments any company can make is in their time, and we hope that the expertise and advice we’re making available to businesses throughout High Growth Markets week can help put UK businesses on a fast track to success.

Events being held throughout the East of England during Export week are:

13 May - Nigeria Master Class - St John’s Innovation Centre, Cambridge.

13 May - Doing Business in Turkey - Alconbury Weald, Huntingdon.

14 May - Middle East Education Seminar - Downing College, Cambridge.

15 May - Web Trading and E-commerce in Emerging Markets - BioPark, Hertfordshire.

15 May - UK Export Finance Master Class - Felaw Maltings, Suffolk.

16 May - Brazil Master Class - Hethel Engineering Centre, Norfolk.

17 May - Winning Business in China & India: Supporting Mid-sized businesses to export more

- Venue TBC

For information on the events being held during Export Week please visit: www.exportweek.ukti.gov.uk

For information and enquiriesregarding the events, please contact:

Leon Palmer

UKTI East

01707 398728

l.palmer@uktieast.org.uk@UKTIEast


Employment Law Newsletter April 2013

Employment Law Newsletter

Dear Employer

As winter finally departs, and spring appears, we are pleased to welcome some new subscribers to this newsletter following our successful seminar earlier this month. This highlighted some new issues that arise from the explosion of the use of social media, and also the problem of ownership of data belonging to the employer which is stored digitally. Those of you who have not had your employment contract/policies reviewed for some time may like to consider this. As always, we are here to help.

Meanwhile, if you have any particular employment issues, please do not hesitate to contact us: details are at the end of this letter. If you have any comments or suggestions on this newsletter, please email newsletter@breezeandwyles.co.uk

Kind regards,

The Employment Law Team

Some Recent Cases in Employment Law

EXCLUSION FROM VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE SCHEME WAS SEX DISCRIMINATION

This case is relevant to all those who offer voluntary severance schemes when redundancies are considered. HM Land Registry needed to reduce staff numbers and offered an early release scheme. It decided to exclude from consideration anyone on a career break who was not due to return until after March 2010. Ms McGlue had been on a career break since March 2008. The break was approved for up to five years but she would be entitled to return to work at any time upon giving reasonable notice. When she applied for the early release scheme, she was told that she was excluded because of her career break but she was not told that, if she gave notice to return before April 2010, she would be eligible. She raised a grievance which was rejected. She then brought a claim of indirect discrimination (amongst other things). Her grievance had included the fact that she thought their selection policy excluding those on a career break might constitute discrimination against her on the grounds of sex because she thought it more likely that women would be on such a break rather than men and it would, therefore, disproportionately affect women.

The Tribunal concluded that she had been indirectly discriminated against because a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) had been applied to her as part of a group which was excluded from consideration because they were on a career break and had not indicated a return to work before 1st April 2010, and that that criterion disadvantaged her in particular. Also, the Tribunal held that she was entitled to receive damages for the full payment she would have received if she had been accepted for the scheme: the Tribunal accepted her evidence that she would have taken the payment and found equally well paid work elsewhere, so there was no basis (as the Land Registry argued) on which to offset any financial benefit she might have had by remaining in employment.

The Land Registry appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). The EAT upheld the Tribunal’s award as far as her compensation payment was concerned (£72,000), plus £12,000 for injury to feelings (recoverable for discrimination). The only item the EAT did not uphold was an additional £5000 for aggravated damages. [HMRC v McGlue]

DISCRIMINATION AND RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

In case employers missed it in the press, the employee who was suspended without pay for four months by British Airways for breaching its uniform policy – she had visibly worn a small cross while working on the check-in desk – has won her case for discrimination in the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that the UK had failed to protect her rights under Articles 9 and/or 14 of the European Convention for Human Rights. Article 9 (in summary) provides that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to manifest religion or belief; Article 14 guarantees that the rights under the Convention will be protected in a non-discriminatory manner. Ms Eweida had lost her claim in the Tribunal, the EAT and the Court of Appeal. The European Court took the view that BA’s corporate image was not a sufficient reason to have interfered with her right to manifest her Christian beliefs by wearing a discreet cross.

Other discrimination claims were dealt with at the European Court of Human Rights which had also reached the press at the early stages. One of these was the Registrar who was dismissed by London Borough of Islington for refusing to carry out same sex unions. Ms Ladele had succeeded at the Employment Tribunal but lost at the EAT and Court of Appeal. She also lost at the European Court. Although it was felt that her rights under Articles 9 and 14 had been interfered with, the interference was justified because the right for it was the desire of the employer to protect the rights of others – in this case, the rights of homosexual clients.

What’s in the pipeline

CHANGE IN MINIMUM CONSULTATION PERIOD

On 6th April, the rules relating to the minimum consultation period where an employer proposes 100 or more redundancies at one establishment within 90 days were intended to change. The minimum consultation is intended to fall from 90 days to 45 days. However, the draft is still to be approved by Parliament.

Also, the collective redundancy consultation rules will be amended to exclude the expiry of fixed-term contracts from the calculation of the number of redundancies taking place in the relevant period.

OTHER CHANGES IN APRIL

Increase in Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) : this increased on 6th April from £85.85 to £86.70

Statutory maternity pay, ordinary and additional statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay : on 7th April, these increased from £135.45 to £136.78

Increase in damages for pain and suffering (including injury to feelings) : on 1st April the level of general damages on grounds such as “pain and suffering”, which includes injury to feelings awards in discrimination claims, increased by 10%. There are different levels of compensation for injury to feelings, which are now as follows:

• Up to £6000

• £6000 - £18,000

• £18,000 - £30,000

The amount recoverable depends on the severity of the discrimination.

INCREASE TO NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

From 1st October 2013, the following new rates will apply:

• The adult rate will increase from £6.19 by 12p to £6.31 an hour

• The rate for 18-20 year olds will increase from £4.98 by 5p to £5.03 an hour

• The rate for 16-17 year olds will increase from £3.68 by 4p to £3.72 an hour

• The apprentice rate will increase from £2.65 by 3p to £2.68 an hour

• The accommodation offset will increase from £4.82 to £4.91

The Employer Traps and Other Tips

VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE SCHEMES

As seen in the case of HM Land Registry v McGlue, the criteria for voluntary redundancy schemes need to be considered carefully to avoid discrimination on any of the protected characteristics. Just to remind you, these are age, disability, gender, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy & maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation. Sometimes policies can be indirectly discriminatory because they apply a PCP (see above).

YOUR DATABASE

Do you know who has ownership of your database if your employee leaves? Has your employee got some of your contacts on his or her social networking site, e.g. LinkedIn? What happens to these when your employee leaves? These are issues that all too often employers fail to consider when their employment contracts are being drafted. Do not under-estimate the value of your database and confidential information generally and take advice as to suitable policies before it is too late.


Employment Law Newsletter April 2013

Dear Employer
As winter finally departs, and spring appears, we are pleased to welcome some new subscribers to this newsletter following our successful seminar earlier this month. This highlighted some new issues that arise from the explosion of the use of social media, and also the problem of ownership of data belonging to the employer which is stored digitally. Those of you who have not had your employment contract/policies reviewed for some time may like to consider this. As always, we are here to help.
Meanwhile, if you have any particular employment issues, please do not hesitate to contact us: details are at the end of this letter. If you have any comments or suggestions on this newsletter, please email newsletter@breezeandwyles.co.uk
Kind regards
The Employment Law Team
Some Recent Cases in Employment Law
EXCLUSION FROM VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE SCHEME WAS SEX DISCRIMINATION
This case is relevant to all those who offer voluntary severance schemes when redundancies are considered. HM Land Registry needed to reduce staff numbers and offered an early release scheme. It decided to exclude from consideration anyone on a career break who was not due to return until after March 2010. Ms McGlue had been on a career break since March 2008. The break was approved for up to five years but she would be entitled to return to work at any time upon giving reasonable notice. When she applied for the early release scheme, she was told that she was excluded because of her career break but she was not told that, if she gave notice to return before April 2010, she would be eligible. She raised a grievance which was rejected. She then brought a claim of indirect discrimination (amongst other things). Her grievance had included the fact that she thought their selection policy excluding those on a career break might constitute discrimination against her on the grounds of sex because she thought it more likely that women would be on such a break rather than men and it would, therefore, disproportionately affect women.
The Tribunal concluded that she had been indirectly discriminated against because a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) had been applied to her as part of a group which was excluded from consideration because they were on a career break and had not indicated a return to work before 1st April 2010, and that that criterion disadvantaged her in particular. Also, the Tribunal held that she was entitled to receive damages for the full payment she would have received if she had been accepted for the scheme: the Tribunal accepted her evidence that she would have taken the payment and found equally well paid work elsewhere, so there was no basis (as the Land Registry argued) on which to offset any financial benefit she might have had by remaining in employment.
The Land Registry appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). The EAT upheld the Tribunal’s award as far as her compensation payment was concerned (£72,000), plus £12,000 for injury to feelings (recoverable for discrimination). The only item the EAT did not uphold was an additional £5000 for aggravated damages. [HMRC v McGlue]
DISCRIMINATION AND RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
In case employers missed it in the press, the employee who was suspended without pay for four months by British Airways for breaching its uniform policy – she had visibly worn a small cross while working on the check-in desk – has won her case for discrimination in the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that the UK had failed to protect her rights under Articles 9 and/or 14 of the European Convention for Human Rights. Article 9 (in summary) provides that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to manifest religion or belief; Article 14 guarantees that the rights under the Convention will be protected in a non-discriminatory manner. Ms Eweida had lost her claim in the Tribunal, the EAT and the Court of Appeal. The European Court took the view that BA’s corporate image was not a sufficient reason to have interfered with her right to manifest her Christian beliefs by wearing a discreet cross.
Other discrimination claims were dealt with at the European Court of Human Rights which had also reached the press at the early stages. One of these was the Registrar who was dismissed by London Borough of Islington for refusing to carry out same sex unions. Ms Ladele had succeeded at the Employment Tribunal but lost at the EAT and Court of Appeal. She also lost at the European Court. Although it was felt that her rights under Articles 9 and 14 had been interfered with, the interference was justified because the right for it was the desire of the employer to protect the rights of others – in this case, the rights of homosexual clients.
What’s in the pipeline
CHANGE IN MINIMUM CONSULTATION PERIOD
On 6th April, the rules relating to the minimum consultation period where an employer proposes 100 or more redundancies at one establishment within 90 days were intended to change. The minimum consultation is intended to fall from 90 days to 45 days. However, the draft is still to be approved by Parliament.
Also, the collective redundancy consultation rules will be amended to exclude the expiry of fixed-term contracts from the calculation of the number of redundancies taking place in the relevant period.
OTHER CHANGES IN APRIL
Increase in Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) : this increased on 6th April from £85.85 to £86.70
Statutory maternity pay, ordinary and additional statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay : on 7th April, these increased from £135.45 to £136.78
Increase in damages for pain and suffering (including injury to feelings) : on 1st April the level of general damages on grounds such as “pain and suffering”, which includes injury to feelings awards in discrimination claims, increased by 10%. There are different levels of compensation for injury to feelings, which are now as follows:
• Up to £6000
• £6000 - £18,000
• £18,000 - £30,000
The amount recoverable depends on the severity of the discrimination.
INCREASE TO NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE
From 1st October 2013, the following new rates will apply:
• The adult rate will increase from £6.19 by 12p to £6.31 an hour
• The rate for 18-20 year olds will increase from £4.98 by 5p to £5.03 an hour
• The rate for 16-17 year olds will increase from £3.68 by 4p to £3.72 an hour
• The apprentice rate will increase from £2.65 by 3p to £2.68 an hour
• The accommodation offset will increase from £4.82 to £4.91
The Employer Traps and Other Tips
VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE SCHEMES
As seen in the case of HM Land Registry v McGlue, the criteria for voluntary redundancy schemes need to be considered carefully to avoid discrimination on any of the protected characteristics. Just to remind you, these are age, disability, gender, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy & maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation. Sometimes policies can be indirectly discriminatory because they apply a PCP (see above).
YOUR DATABASE
Do you know who has ownership of your database if your employee leaves? Has your employee got some of your contacts on his or her social networking site, e.g. LinkedIn? What happens to these when your employee leaves? These are issues that all too often employers fail to consider when their employment contracts are being drafted. Do not under-estimate the value of your database and confidential information generally and take advice as to suitable policies before it is too late.

Why disclosing all may be best for the kids

The recent case of Kloosman v Aylen highlights the need to obtain proper legal advice and to openly discuss intentions before making large lifetime gifts.
Elderly parents wanting to benefit children or friends before they die need to consider the consequences, and be clear and open about their intentions if they want to avoid family fights and court battles.
A recent case highlighting this problem revolved around the will made by Richard Frost in September 2007, when he set out that he wanted to leave a third of his estate to each of his daughters, Linda and Susan, and a third to his son and his grandchildren.
Shortly afterwards he moved in with his daughter Susan and sold his house for £350,000. Then, knowing that he was dying of bowel cancer, he made gifts of £100,000 to each of his daughters out of the proceeds of his house sale. He died a few months later in March 2008 and, as a result of the gifts made during his lifetime, his estate was worth only £135,000.
The executor of his will, Mr Kloosman, did not know whether Mr Frost intended the gifts to the daughters to be treated as payments on account of the gifts under the will and so he asked the Courts to decide the matter.
The judge was persuaded that Mr Frost made the gifts to the daughters to show his gratitude to them for looking after him and to compensate them for the expense incurred in doing so, and she ordered that the estate should be distributed as set out in the will without regard to the lifetime gifts.
No one will ever know for certain what Mr Frost intended. He may have assumed that it was obvious that the gifts to his daughters should be brought into account in distributing his estate equally, but it is just as likely that that he never gave the issue a moment’s thought.
What is certain is that he left a legacy of ill will and division amongst his family by not stating his intentions. If he had taken advice and made a properly informed decision, his family might have found it easier to accept the outcome.
ENDS
Web site content note:
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Expansion of Small Claims Limit

1st April 2013 - Small Claims Limit increases from £5000 to £10000; it could cost you financially not to issue a claim of between £5000 - £10,000 before this date!

Many cases that we help clients with are for debts / unpaid invoices of between £5000 - £10000. These cases have previously been allocated to the Court's Fast Track.This has meant that if our client's case were defended and our client won, they could recover our legal fees from the losing party.

In Small Claims matters, the Court limits the amount of legal fees that are recoverable from the losing party. This is called fixed fee recovery. The amount of the fixed fee recovery that a winning party can claim is linked to the value of their case.

It is believed that after 1st April 2013, the fixed fee a client will be able to recover from the losing party, on a debt of between £5000 - £10000 is £100.

The legal fees for pursuing a claim of between £5000 - £10000 will inevitably be more than £100. This is particularly true where the debt is disputed!

If you wait to issue a claim, for a debt of between £5000 - £10000, until after 1st April, there will be an increased irrecoverable cost to you. Where the claim is defended, this irrecoverable legal cost may be hundreds or even thousands of pounds depending on the complexity of the case.

If you or your clients have a debt of between £5000 - £10000, it is well worth issuing your claim before 1st April 2013 so that you can recover a greater amount in respect of the legal costs associated with pursuing the claim.