Former KWM staff awarded £1m over handling of redundancies by firm in 'clear cut' case

A group of 288 former King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) staff have been awarded more than £1m, after they brought a claim over the way their redundancies were handled when the firm’s European arm collapsed in January.

The Employment Tribunal has today (20 September) awarded the amount to the group after the firm failed to carry out a formal redundancy consultation process with them.

The amount awarded is eight weeks pay per claimant and payouts will be capped at £479 per week per person, equating to a maximum individual payment of £3,832 from the Redundancy Payment Office.

One of the claimants said: “This is a great result and closes the chapter on this sorry affair. Good to see the Tribunal finally pulling its finger out and delivering the judgment in good time. Let’s see if the Redundancy Payment Office can follow suit.”

Herrington Carmichael’s employment head Alistair McArthur, who advised the former KWM staff on the case, said: “The 288 claimants in this case were bold to take on a claim like this and they have been very successful. This was a very unfortunate situation for all involved and we would like to thank the administrators Quantuma for being amenable and helpful throughout the process.

“Quite simply this was a clear cut legal case as far as we were concerned – King & Wood Mallesons failed to carry out a necessary legal process to consult with staff before redundancies were made – and we were confident that the former employees had a strong case for compensation through the courts.”

Herrington Carmichal had previously advised claimants to accept the offer from Quantuma, made last month, to avoid the need for a full tribunal hearing.

KWM’s European arm collapsed in January. Earlier this month, a progress report from KWM’s administrator Quantuma revealed fees paid to the firms advising on the collapse. It showed that administrator Quantuma has received almost £1.1m so far for its services.

Meanwhile CMS Cameron McKenna has been paid almost £850,000 in fees and disbursements for advice on what the report describes as “the complex legal issues which have arisen both in the pre- and post-administration periods”. Pinsent Masons has received more than £186,000 for its work on the administration, while Ashfords has been paid almost £300,000 in fees and disbursements in its role as solicitor manager for the firm.