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London-based KWM employees awarded £1m

288 employees win ‘clear cut legal case’ following firm’s collapse

21 September 2017

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The employment tribunal has awarded more than £1m in compensation to nearly 300 former employees of the now defunct London arm of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).

KWM collapsed in January after months of turmoil which saw a string of high-profile partners depart the firm, before it entered administration owing around £35m to Barclays Bank.

The firm was taken to the tribunal having failed to carry out a formal redundancy consultation process with its staff.

The award made by the tribunal today equates to eight weeks’ pay per claimant, for each of the 288 employees.

Businesses are required to consult with staff if they make more than 100 redundancies at one time. KWM made around 600 employees redundant at the time of the collapse.

The claimants were represented by Surrey and Berkshire-based firm Herrington Carmichael.

Partner and head of employment Alistair McArthur said: “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.”

McArthur said the circumstances leading up to the tribunal had been a “very unfortunate situation for all involved”.

Andrew Hosking and Sean Bucknall of Quantuma were appointed joint administrators in January and were praised as “amenable and helpful” by McArthur.

The KWM collapse is understood to be the biggest UK law firm collapse since Halliwells went bust in 2010.

The firm was the result of a merger between Chinese firm Kings & Wood, Australian Mallesons, and London silver circle firm SJ Berwin.

The 2013 merger created an international legal practice with more than 2,700 lawyers.

 

Hannah Gannagé-Stewart, reporter

hannah.gannage-stewart@solicitorsjournal.co.uk

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Employment Termination Tribunals & Courts

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