The administrators of the defunct European arm of King & Wood Mallesons have confirmed there was a ‘technical breach’ of a consultation process on axing staff before the firm went under. The development comes amid reports that about 200 former KWM staff have been offered a financial settlement over the way their redundancies were handled.
Last month it was confirmed that an employment tribunal claim brought by the former staff would proceed, with KWM’’s EU arm and the firm itself as respondents. South-east firm Herrington Carmichael, which said it could not comment for legal reasons, is representing the aggrieved former staff.
The claim was understood to relate to King & Wood Mallesons’ alleged failure to enter a formal consultation process before making redundancies. Businesses are required to do this if they make more than 100 redundancies at any one time.
KWM’s administrator Quantuma today confirmed that ’whilst the firm (KWM) had commenced and undertaken a consultation process, the consultation had concluded early due to the onset of the firm entering administration. As a result, there was a technical breach in respect of the required duration for the consultation process’.
According to reports, claimants have been offered eight weeks’ pay capped at £479 per week each from the Redundancy Payment Office (up to a maximum of £3,832) and have until Friday to accept. About 20 former staffers are also believed to have drawn from a hardship fund set up by former KWM Europe partners that has raised over £100,000.
The demise of KWM Europe in January this year was the UK’s biggest ever law firm collapse.