Published: 16:45, 29 May 2020
| Updated: 22:27, 29 May 2020
Dozens of former employees of a law firm which ceased trading have been awarded more than £500,000 following the loss of their jobs.
Court papers published this month reveal the company had not provided a response in time and therefore the judge had made a ruling by default for each case.
The conveyancing company had links to many estate agents and developers at its peak but in 2018 the business was involved in controversy.
Following an annual audit, the firm, which was based in Ramsgate and formed following a merger three years ago, was accused of accountancy errors. Its licence was revoked by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).
Documents registered with Companies House show a process to strike off the business is ongoing.
The regulator said at the time it had intervened in the matter in the light of the firm's alleged code and conduct "and to protect the interests of the firm's clients".
As a result of the firm closing, 27 of the former employees made employment tribunal legal claims for redundancy, breach of contract and unlawful deductions from wages.
Now a tribunal judge for Kent has awarded the claimants a total of £513,463 following a series of individual hearings.
The highest award of £53,032 went to Rashpal Kaur. The amount included a protective award of £13,153 covering 90 days wages.
A protective award is normally made where employees complained they had been "kept in the dark" over what was happening to their jobs and where there had been no consultations in accordance with the Labour Relations and Trade Union Act.
Branches in Ramsgate, Herne Bay, Margate and Broadstairs were visited by officers from the CLC in October and ordered them to close.
The Foster employees had been told to go home the day the firm shut down its website and most of the claimants were awarded protective awards.
David Ainsworth was awarded £13,010, Hazel Hills £11,466, Rebecca Newman £20,286, Michelle Ayres £18,263, Luke Humphries, £16,539, Robert Newman £31,273, Tracy Norman £14,833, Penny Ashton £9,135, Mollie Telford £13,130, Michelle Latimer £26,412, Jim Wright £8,050, Jane Baird £21,271, Belinda Plummer £12,768, Richard Franco-Robinson £17,240, Harry Evans £9,824, Paul Dickinson, £50,631, Antionette Armstrong £19,823 and Sarah Bonnici £5,481.
Meanwhile, other employees were awarded the following: Reiss Page £10,215, Elina Jacina £16,616, Abbi Diamond £7,858, Vivien Betts £17,517, Liam Cleworth £7,489,Luke Humphries £16,539, Maria Homewood £35,377 and Edward Foster £13,010.
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