26th October 2012
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A Telford-based solicitor has warned that a supposedly ‘landmark’ and ‘historic’ equal pay ruling may not have the far-reaching consequences it has been claimed to herald.  

Earlier this week [Wednesday 24th October], the Supreme Court ruled in favour of 174 female former Birmingham City Council employees who argued they had been treated unfavourably in terms of pay compared with their male counterparts. 

Following the ruling, employees or ex-employees who have been similarly discriminated against in terms of pay compared with colleagues of the opposite sex could now have up to six years from the date of their last payment to formally lodge a claim against their employer in the civil courts, a huge increase on the previous position, where individuals only had six months to bring a case via an employment tribunal. 

Many employment law experts have warned the ruling will open the floodgates to the possibility of thousands of similar cases of legal action from women across the country. However, Edmund Coxhead, Partner at PCB Solicitors, believes the actual impact of the judgement will have far fewer practical implications. 

“Delving a little deeper into the Supreme Court judgement, it seems that the impact of the ruling may not be as far-reaching as the headlines in the national press would suggest,” Edmund explained. “Perhaps the most pertinent point in the judgement was made by Lord Wilson in regards to awarding costs in such cases. 

“An employment tribunal will not normally make an order of costs, whereas a court will. In the judgement however, Lord Wilson suggests that if a court was indeed to accept a claim such as the one relating to Birmingham City Council in the future, which would ordinarily have been brought in an employment tribunal, it ‘might not order costs in favour of a successful claimant’. To put it bluntly, this comment should pour cold water on the possibility of a flood of cases being brought forward in its aftermath. 

“Any individual who feels they may have a case to make an equal pay claim and requires clarification on the legislation should get in touch with our dedicated employment law team,” Edmund concluded. 

PCB Solicitors LLP is a modern partnership, with offices in Shrewsbury, Broseley, Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Knighton, Ludlow, Telford, and Worcester. While they have origins back to 1860, the firm is forward-looking and offers a full range of legal advice for both individuals and businesses, including property, family advice and childcare matters, wills, trusts, probate and estate planning, accident and personal injury, litigation, criminal law and corporate and business law.

 For further information about PCB Solicitors’ complete range of legal services, please contact the Shrewsbury Head office on 01743 248148 or visit the website www.pcblaw.co.uk.   

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Katie G

Member since: 23rd February 2012

PCB Solicitors LLP are a modern law firm with a full range of legal services for both commercial and private clients. We aim to stand out from the crowd by providing consistent quality, value for money...

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