"I say, Capsticks is causing a bit of drama at court"

Capsticks has been accused of "deplorable" conduct at an employment tribunal and of presenting a "car crash" case.

The firm represented NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board in its defence against a constructive dismissal claim brought by a former assistant director.

Clive Rennie was successful in his claim against the NHS body, but the hearing did not go smoothly as Capsticks was lambasted by both the opposing counsel and the judge.  

A Capsticks solicitor argued that the firm could not make representations for a disclosure order as it had involved a third party HR services provider.

But the claimant's barrister, Neil Ashley, accused the firm of misleading the tribunal. He said the Capsticks lawyers were "thumbing their noses" at the tribunal, and their behaviour amounted to "gamesmanship", "disobedience" and "non-compliance" with the order. 

Employment Judge Postle also appeared to be unimpressed with Capsticks and stated that the delay was "unacceptable" and their clients were "prevaricating" over the order. 

Capsticks responded by applying for the tribunal to recuse itself from the hearing, accusing the judge of "inappropriate conduct, tone and disparaging comments towards the Respondent and its representatives".

The judge said he was "surprised" (presumably not in a good way) that the application was made by a Capsticks lawyer who had not been present at the proceedings, rather the solicitor who was attending the hearing.

Pondering whether the application was "purely tactical" as a way to get "a back door postponement" and a "form of revenge" because the order "might embarrass" Capsticks' clients, he said the firm's actions were "perhaps a cynical attempt to hijack the proceedings". 

The judge and tribunal panel said that there was no bias and dismissed the recusal application, while Ashley said he "had never seen such deplorable conduct" by solicitors, and had "rarely" seen such a "car crash" of a case presented before a tribunal, adding that the opposing side's behaviour was "scandalous".  

The claimants' counsel also submitted that "at every turn" Capsticks and the respondents had "shown a lack of co-operation and wilful disregard of the overriding objective of the Tribunal".

In one instance, Capsticks had been asked for drafts of key documents in relation to grievance reports and investigatory statements regarding the matter. However, the firm had told the tribunal that there were "no drafts" of an investigatory report and "none had ever existed". 

Ashley stated that it was "absurd to the extreme" for Capsticks to tell the tribunal "that a 20 page perfectly polished Report had never been the subject of any drafting". He accused the firm of making their statement "recklessly and off the cuff without any thought", and that such statements were "utterly untruthful". 

The judge noted that it subsequently turned out that there "was indeed a draft Investigation Report" prepared, "notwithstanding the Respondent's assertion no such draft Reports existed." 

A Capsticks solicitor at the hearing informed the tribunal that they took their "responsibilities seriously and would not knowingly mislead the Tribunal", adding that the drafts had not been in the possession of the firm's client.

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Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 07 June 24 10:04

In fairness, given the wages on offer at Capsticks it's remarkable that they've managed to find people who perform even this well.

Anon 07 June 24 10:23

Anon 07 June 24 08:57 "Aren't this lot the SRA's sols?".

Yes - telling behaviour isn't it.

chinny 07 June 24 11:30

[email protected] Every Capsticks, Bevans, Beachcroft, Hempsons, BJ etc. solicitor who phones me looking for a new job always bang on about their pay being shit. You go through the salaries at the other public sector firms, they are basically the same, explain there is no 25% rise out there, they disagree, phone another recruiter (we do all talk) and look for a different answer. If you want more money don't work with public sector clients, the rates are shit and so is the pay.

Anonymous 07 June 24 12:01

Both the senior and managing partner of this firm are employment lawyers by trade. A fish rots from the head down. 

Fishfancier 07 June 24 12:35

Rot starts wherever the highest concentration of bacteria is, which is almost always within the intestines, sometimes the stomach, so they rot from the inside out. Don't be talking trash on fish. 

Anonymous 07 June 24 12:43

The way some of you treat adult solicitors as children deserving of kid gloves when they screw up abominably is kind of shocking

Anonymous 07 June 24 12:58

Anon @12.43 Everyone gets things wrong early on in their career. Allowing people to learn from that and move forward away from public opinion is important. Once you qualify and get a few years under your belt you will get it. 

Anon 07 June 24 13:49

@chinny - another recruiter here: I get the same complaints but the pay is low for the hours required not all of the work is public sector and the profit of Capsticks compared to what they pay lawyers is shocking. Jump the ship while you can troops!

Anons 07 June 24 13:53

poor for a firm to use the junior solicitor as a scapegoat for their incompetence - read the judgement - the partner didn’t even attend the hearing who put in the application in. 

Chinny 07 June 24 14:45

Hi Other Recruiter x. Happy Friday.You out tonight? 

1500 hours chargable, pretty much the same everywhere? Same margins, equity spread as BB who pay the same. If you had a 5ypqe inquests lawyer at a Capsticks regional office on 65k with a 1500 hour target where could you put them that would ask for less hours and/or increase salary by more than 5%? I can only think of firms who would do one or the other. 

Anonymous 07 June 24 14:46

"the partner didn’t even attend the hearing who put in the application in."

Can you blame them? 

Public sector clients don't have the budget to pay you, the partner, to lounge around at the back of court adding no value while counsel talks, your junior takes a note, and you try to be as subtle as you can about browsing Mumsnet, spending a suspicious amount of time watching lithe young fitness models doing kettlebell swings on Instagram as if you really, really care about the technique, and/or seeing if anyone has bought that pair of your girlfriend's old pants that you listed on Vinted for £40 and she thinks must be down the back of a drawer or something.

For private sector clients you love a good trial because there's no easier workday, but it's just not the same when the client is the NHS, you have to do all that stuff on the train home. Simply awful.

Anonymous 07 June 24 15:23

Capsticks losing loads of people and clients at the moment. Be interesting to see if they’ll survive the next few years. 

Culture vulture 07 June 24 16:02

I have to work with a partner who came up through Capsticks...

Is being an arrogant, know-it-all, dictatorial prick a seat they offer to trainees?  Because I’m starting to see a pattern here…

Anonymous 07 June 24 19:38

Not a good look for our friends at the SRA who use these wrong ‘uns to enforce professional standards.  Have they reported themselves to the SRA or not? 

Anon 07 June 24 22:30

I worked for capsticks and left due to atrocious supervision and the sheer volume of work being unmanageable if they wanted a decent job being done. They are expecting you to get these cases through as quickly and cheaply as possible and give no proper guidance and so mistakes happen. Whenever capsticks are stung in the press I always sympathise with some poor junior who probably kept asking for help and got none and is now taking the blame and feeling absolutely crap.

Judge Dredd 08 June 24 15:57

Capsticks pay is crap as they pretend to offer more flexibility for caseload, chargeable time etc.   Some of their solicitors are working 14 hours a day for 6 days a week.  Flexible my arse.  They pile it high and sell it cheap.  

Stratchitch 08 June 24 21:32

Crabsticks, Catshits, Capfits, Crapshits, Crapshoots, Crapdicks, Canshits, Craptits, Catfish.

It's either pooey or fishy and possibly both... 

Anonymous 10 June 24 14:00

Lolz @ Judge Dredd. No capaicks solicitor has ever worked an 84 hour week. Fact! 

Truestory 10 June 24 14:12

Pay was so bad at Capsticks I had to work in a car wash on Saturdays and was eating from a foodbank. I was expected to do 22 chargable hours, 7 days a week, even on Xmas day. The car wash let me go which made things impossible,as that was my main income. I once saw a Partner eat a Swan! 


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