Metamorph Group Services Limited (“MGSL”) was placed into voluntary liquidation on November 29 2022. Subsequently, Knowles Benning LLP was closed on December 19, 2022 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as part of the failed Metamorph group and was subsequently placed into compulsory liquidation having failed to make payments of wages to its staff.
Knowles Benning Solicitors specialised in residential conveyancing, commercial property, family, care, employment, road traffic, personal injury and wills and probate, and were based in the Luton area.
Employment Partner and Solicitor, Alan Lewis at Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers, is now helping staff of both MGSL and Knowles Benning make a protective award claim on the basis the correct redundancy procedures were not followed. Both claims have been commenced in the Employment Tribunal.
“Sadly, many firms in the legal sector are facing troubled times and are increasingly entering into insolvency situations. However, insolvency on itself does not excuse an employer of following the correct procedures before making staff redundant. Indeed, law firms are in a better position than other businesses to access advice quickly and to ensure they follow the correct procedures before making staff redundant,” said Alan.
If successful staff may be able to claim a little known legal award, a Protective Award, which is compensation of up to 90 days’ gross pay.
“It’s early days but if employers did not consult with the appropriate representatives, then any staff made redundant may potentially make a claim. If you lose your job through administration every penny count,” said Alan, who specialises in Protective Award Claims and works with employees all over the country.
“More and more we are seeing SMEs across all sectors struggling and sadly some of them are having to shut up shop. This of course has a major impact on the workforce and if employees are told they are losing their jobs with immediate effect they can make a claim, a proper redundancy consultation must be followed no matter how big or small the company,” added Alan.
“If the company has gone bust and your employer cannot pay your award then the Government steps in and guarantees 8 weeks’ pay, currently capped at £643 per week less any arrears of pay you may have received from the Redundancy Payments Office, so employees really have nothing to lose.