Lawyers launch campaign

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Financial Correspondent

The LawNet Group, an association of more than 70 law firms in the UK, is offering free consultation to former employees who were sacked by receivers when their companies ceased trading.

The LawNet marketing campaign follows the Law Lords' controversial ruling last week which makes receivers and administrators liable for the severance pay and pensions contributions of employees who are kept on for more than 14 days after they are called in to a bankrupt company .

A number of lawyers specialising in employment law have suggested that many thousands of former employees may benefit from the ruling on the Paramount case, which overturned eight years of accepted practice.

The Lords ruled last week that receivers have a free hand to sack employees only during the first two weeks of their appointment, after which they are deemed to have "adopted" the remaining employees' contracts.

LawNet is inviting compensation inquiries from anyone who was an employee of a company which was put into receivership or administration between 1986 and March 1994, the period during which the ruling applies.

Kim Julien, LawNet's commercial manager, said that applicants who called the firm's hotline would be sent a questionnaire, which will then be processed by the firm closest to the applicant.

Each law firm within LawNet will then advise the former employee on pursuing the receivers through the courts, and will decide on its own eventual fees.

"Each case will need to be assessed on its merits," Ms Julien said. "Some high claims would be nice, but any employee is welcome."