No-win no-fee lawyers hampering councils’ equal pay reviews

The use of no-win no-fee lawyers is hampering equal pay reviews being carried out by local authorities.

Half of all councils have now carried out equal pay reviews, but the local authorities are being hampered by the involvement of no-win no-fee lawyers in such cases. The new survey of 79 local authorities by the Local Government Employers found that staff in schools account for about 29% of equal pay costs for a given authority with up to around 75% in the most extreme cases. The total cost of pay reviews is currently estimated at £2.8bn, with total back-pay at £1.0bn, ongoing costs at £1.5bn, and protection at £0.4bn.

Jan Parkinson, managing director of the Local Government Employers, said: “Councils have been hamstrung in their ability to deliver on equal pay agreements as no-win no-fee lawyers have been holding up the process for many years. No-win no-fee lawyers have not served any useful purpose and instead have clogged up the tribunal system causing severe delays to claims and cost taxpayers more money in bureaucracy.”