Employment & HR

Our Legal 500-recognised team resolves employment and HR issues swiftly by providing strategic and pragmatic advice to achieve the best and most cost-effective outcomes.

More about Employment & HR

We work to become a key part of our clients' team; becoming an integral security blanket to businesses and organisations from SMEs to PLCs and national bodies.

Employment law is an area that is constantly evolving. We work in partnership with our clients, providing them with innovative solutions to Employment & HR issues; and securing a robust defence to any Employment Tribunal claims.

Our team comprises of:

  • Commercial specialists advising businesses across a range of industries, including manufacturing, construction and food production.

  • Public sector specialists advising national bodies, local authorities, housing associations and educational establishments.

We tailor our offering to each client, offering bespoke fixed-cost insurance-backed packages: HR Complete for SMEs and Forbes In-House for larger employers.

We pride ourselves on our USP of providing project-based work, such as conducting complex disciplinary and grievance investigations, as well as holding redundancy consultation meetings and supporting the Care sector.

Added value is a key part of our offering: delivering in-house training sessions, hosting regular events and publishing articles relating to changes in the law.

Forbes take time to really get to know your business, how it operates and what drives the company. They offer tailor made solutions to your issues whilst ensuring you stay compliant to current legislation. They offer different options to suit your business need

Legal 500

We have enjoyed working with Emma Swan and the team as they are proactive and always provide solutions which identify the key risks and benefits associated with decisions. The passion for employment law and HR is evident in the way they work.

Legal 500

Forbes Solicitors provide pragmatic support based on unique challenges that business face especially for the business with access to a small skilled team, which has enabled us to build relationships with the team, and in turn gives us the confidence to deal with a range of employment issues sensitively and robustly


Forbes solicitors exhibited a level of expertise and dedication that put us at ease immediately. They took the time to meticulously explain our options and potential risks, ensuring we were fully informed at every stage of the legal process. Throughout the duration of our engagement, Forbes Solicitors demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our case. They were responsive, proactive, and always one step ahead. It was evident that they genuinely cared about our success.


Recognition for our work

Employment & HR FAQs

Do I need to issue my employees with contracts of employment?

Whilst there is no statutory requirement to have written contracts in place, section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that an employer must provide certain written particulars of employment to employees whose employment lasts for at least one month. The written particulars must be provided within two months of the employee commencing employment.

If an employer fails to provide a statement of written particulars, provides an incomplete statement, or fails to notify the employee of a change in their terms of employment, the employee can apply to the Employment Tribunal for a determination as to what the terms of their employment were, or ought to have been.

If, during the course of Employment Tribunal proceedings, it becomes apparent that an employer has failed to provide an employee with written particulars of employment, the Tribunal can award two or four weeks' gross pay to the employee.

What is an employment settlement agreement?

A settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee, where the employee accepts a sum of money in full and final settlement of any Tribunal or Court claims against the employer arising out of their employment or its termination. It is one of the only ways in which an employer can ensure that an employee will not bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal after their employment comes to an end.

There are various requirements that must be met in order for a settlement agreement to be legally binding. The agreement must be in writing, it must identify the employee's legal adviser (who must have a policy of professional indemnity insurance in place) and it must list the specific claims that the employee may have against the employer.

The employee must obtain independent legal advice in relation to the terms and effect of the settlement agreement in order for it to be legally binding. The employer will normally make a contribution to legal fees in this regard.

I have just received Employment Tribunal papers. What should I do?

You should take legal advice as soon as possible. You will need to present a response to the relevant Employment Tribunal office within 28 days of the date on which you were sent a copy of the claim using an ET3 Form. Your response should include your full name, your address, whether you wish to resist the claim in whole or in part and if you wish to resist, on what grounds.

If your response is not submitted within the relevant time limit, or it does not include all of the required information, default judgment may be entered against you or you may be prevented from taking part in the proceedings.

What will it cost to defend an employment law claim?

Our aim is to provide cost-effective advice and manage the case to keep the cost incurred to a minimum. Generally speaking, you will be charged at an hourly rate for the work that we carry out on your behalf.

It is impossible to say at the outset of the case what it will cost to defend the claim, as all cases differ. However, we will give you the best estimate that we can and provide you with regular cost updates.

We understand that there is not only a financial cost to you in defending a claim; there is a cost to your business in terms of the time that it takes for you to deal with the claim (for example, if you are required to attend as a witness at the Tribunal). It may not always be in the interests of your business to defend a claim through to a final hearing. We will therefore discuss ways that you may be able to resolve the dispute more cost effectively, for example, by entering into settlement negotiations via ACAS.

Who pays the legal costs in an employment tribunal dispute?

As a general rule, in the Employment Tribunal, each party bears their own costs.

Costs orders will only be made (at the Tribunal's discretion) in very limited circumstances, where a party or their representative has acted vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or otherwise unreasonably in either the bringing of the proceedings or the way in which they have been conducted.

A costs order can also be made where a claim (or response) has no reasonable prospect of success, where a party has breached an Order or Practice Direction, or where it has become necessary for a hearing to be postponed or adjourned due to a party's actions.

Our dedicated Employment & HR team


Partner and National Head of Employment & Education, Employment & HR

Jonathan Holden

Emma Swan.jpg

Partner and Head of Commercial Employment, Employment & HR

Emma Swan

Ruth Rule Mulllen.jpg

Partner and Head of Public Sector Employment, Employment & HR

Ruth Rule-Mullen


Partner, Employment & HR

Jennifer Smith

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