A defunct Kent firm has been ordered to pay £114,000 to former employees after a string of employment law breaches.
The Foster Partnership was shut down last October after an intervention by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. It has now emerged through a series of published employment tribunal judgments that five former staff members have been awarded payments after the firm failed to respond to their claims within the stipulated time. The decisions were all made by the same judge last month under Rule 21, which allows for a determination of a claim where no response has been presented.
The five ex-employees, Elina Jacina, Richard Franco-Robinson, Antoinette Armstrong, Harry Evans and Paul Dickinson, were awarded amounts ranging from almost £10,000 to more than £50,000.
In each case, the tribunal found claimants had been unfairly dismissed in breach of contract and were entitled to redundancy and damages payments. The firm had also failed to comply with collective redundancy procedures, and made unauthorised deductions from wages.
It is understood there are a number of other claims that either yet to be resolved or published.
The CLC cited breaches of its code of conduct and protection of clients’ interests as reasons for shutting down the Foster Partnership. Local media reported that the closed could result in as many as 100 job losses. The firm, which operated from four offices in Kent, had been established in 2015 as one of two successor practices to the closed conveyancing firm Foster Mackay.
It is unclear how much money the affected employees will receive. According to Companies House, a notice to strike the company off the register was issued in March, but this was temporarily suspended as an objection had been received.