This may surprise you!



Solicitors sometimes get it wrong!

Actually, that shouldn’t really surprise you, because if solicitors never got it wrong, we’d never end up in court (because the solicitors on each side would agree on what the answer was) and we’d never need the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, because the solicitors at the first hearing (including the Judge who can sometimes be a solicitor) would always get it right.

So it should come as no surprise that when a solicitor took a law firm to Court, the Court found that he was wrong to have thought he was an employee of that firm.

But that is quite surprising.  You would have expected a solicitor to understand the difference between being an employee and being a consultant.

Actually, that can be quite a minefield, because it’s a fairly subjective test.  It’s not confined to what is in the written agreement between the parties but focuses on what the parties actually did in practice.

For example, in reality, how much control did the law firm have over the solicitor.

In this case, none! He worked his own hours, bought in his own clients and was left to do the work without any input from the firm.

He was also free to accept or reject any work offered to him by the firm.

The bottom line is that there is nothing wrong with having people working for you on a self employed basis, but in order for it to be a legitimate arrangement (rather than simply a device to avoid PAYE and employment rights) certain key elements must exist in practice (and not just in theory in the contract) such as lack of mutuality of obligation, which means that you don’t have to offer them work, and if you offer it to them, they don’t have to accept it.

If you have people working for you on a self employed basis, or you are thinking of offering your services in this way, and you don’t want any nasty surprises, then we are always here for a coffee and a chat to talk through your options.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Employing good legal knowledge.