Around 200 former King & Wood Mallesons Europe and Middle East staff are commencing legal action over how redundancies were dealt with when the firm collapsed.

According to a report by Legal Week, ex-KWM staff, including lawyers, are bringing a claim on the alleged grounds that the firm failed to follow a formal 45 day consultation process before making the redundancies, as required under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992.

An employment  tribunal has now given the green light for the action to proceed. The resurrected miniature KWM in Europe will not be in the firing line, as a spokeswoman for the firm confirmed that "there is no legal action being brought against KWM Europe LLP (the London office of the China firm)". Given that KWM's EUME arm went bust, if the action is successful it will be paid out of the government's coffers via the Insolvency Service Redundancy Payments Service. Under the rules, claims can include up to eight weeks' wages capped at £479 per week per claimant. Ex-KWM partners can keep smiling as it won't cost them a penny *.

   An ex-KWM partner, yesterday

If a payout materialises it is likely to be only a small consolation for disgruntled ex-staffers at the firm, who were left jobless as the firm cratered. Plenty of partners at the firm had been too willing to shaft the firm and its employees as the wheels came off, the minions had their pay cancelled, and a very public blame game ensued. Although some good eggs have emerged at KWM 2.0 to launch a hardship fund.

RollOnFriday contacted the lawyers for the claimaints, Herrington Carmichael, as well as the administrators for KWM EUME, Quantuma, but both declined to comment.

* Although some may be out of pocket in other ways: a source told RollOnFriday that an ex-KWM partner received zero sympathy from associates at his new firm, when he whined that a £150k tax rebate owed to him is tied up in the KWM administration.
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