Frequently asked questions

What are the costs risks of bringing discrimination claims?

Any legal action carries costs risks.  Not tackling discrimination by the DWP carries the certainty of further discrimination, which can result in destitution and sometimes even death. Judges have wide discretion over whether to award costs.

Whether the risk is worth taking depends on your individual circumstances, remembering that the worse that can happen is you lose and get a bill from the Government which you would only ever have to pay if you can afford to.

Do you charge for advice?

Not for advice only.  The only charges I ever make are if I take action on your case and we win following you agreeing a no win no fee agreement.

Do you attend PIP / ESA consultations?

Please check the PIP section of this website to see if the information about recording consultations is enough for you.  If you wanted me to attend it will depend where it is as to whether I would be able to do it, so please contact me to check. I am based in Ludlow, Shropshire.

What are the limits of KDR representation services?

Kester can represent you in complaints procedures, tribunals and at some hearings in the Small Claims Track of the County Court only.  If your case goes elsewhere in the courts system - e.g. to the County Court Fast Track or Multi Track we can assist with filling in forms and drafting statements etc but cannot provide representation due to court rules.  All County Court claims have to be issued with you as a litigant in person, unless we can get legal aid, which is increasingly unlikely. 

Being a litigant in person is a right and the court system must adjust to your needs. We can support you to use the courts as a litigant in person. The official position from the courts service is that litigants in person are welcomed (https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/new-edition-of-the-equal-treatment-bench-book-launched/).  Even so, this can seem daunting but it is also daunting being discriminated against.  We would provide you with information to help you make an informed choice as to whether you wish to bring a case.

How can discrimination claims be issued in Court?

Kester Disability Rights can help you put together the case particulars for you. You may have to pay a court fee, which is refundable by the losing side if your case wins. There could be further court fees if a hearing is necessary. Many people do not have to pay court fees and Kester would advise you on this. This is called “court fees exemption” and depends on your income. Basically if you’ve not much money you won’t have to pay court fees. You can check if you are eligible for court fees exemption here.

And here is further information about rules for small claims in the County Court: Civil Procedure Rules Part 27 - Small Claims

Most disability compensation claims come within small claims limits so legal costs are not usually available to either side. This means that it is uneconomic to use solicitors for most of these types of claims. Tragically this means that thousands of acts of disability discrimination occur every year with impunity. That needs remedying. It's so bad there is even a Parliamentary Inquiry into it.

You do not usually need a solicitor for these types of claims – please see FAQ, "Are you a solicitor?".

And here is a self-help DWP discrimination guide

Are you a solicitor?

No, although I have trained and supervised solicitors in carrying out social security casework under pro bono programmes in the voluntary sector. Before the abolition of legal aid, the vast majority of legal aid, in, for example, social security went to non-solicitor advisers. Many solicitors employ lots of non-solicitors to pursue cases. The monopoly of solicitors on advice has long since disappeared. The legal profession is structured in such a way that it is not economically viable for it to run many types of cases and so lawyers these days generally only work for wealthy people. And legal aid is currently largely a thing of the past.

The County Court Small Claims Track is specifically set-up to run without lawyers - legal cost are not usually recoverable. Non-solicitor advisers are permitted to represent for Small Claims, but only with the claimant present (Ministry of Justice - Practice Direction 27 - Small Claims Track).  If the claimant being "present" causes a problem for a disabled person then the Court is required to make reasonable adjustments for them.

Alternatively, claims can be brought without representation and with more informal support.  The courts service has produced guidance encouraging the courts to be more accommodating to litigants in person saying the litigant in person should never be seen as a problem.  It's more about whether the court is a problem for the litigant in person: https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/new-edition-of-the-equal-treatment-bench-book-launched/

What are Small Claims in the County Court?

This is a relatively informal arena for claims up to £10,000. Legal costs are not usually available to either side, but refunds of court fees and expenses are available to the winning side. There are rules to help claimants who cannot attend and the whole idea is that this is an informal court where barristers and the like are not appropriate. This court is held throughout the country and there is even a new on-line version being piloted.

Am I obliged to instruct Kester Disability Rights once a free consultation has taken place?

No, you are perfectly entitled to use what you have learned from your free consultation to either pursue your case yourself or go elsewhere. If you wish to appoint Kester Disability Rights to work for you, we will send you an agreement which is only binding if you choose to sign it remembering that you would only have to pay KDR anything if we obtain money you couldn't otherwise get.

Are there any hidden charges?

Kester Disability Rights is genuinely no win no fee. If we don’t win you don’t pay anything at all to KDR and if we do win you pay either 25% or a fixed fee. This will be made absolutely clear after your free case assessment and initial advice. The only potential additional fees are court fees, which are refundable if we win and which you will be exempt from if you have a low income.

Why are you doing this instead of working for a charity, local authority or law firm?

  • Is there a charity that has a sustainable funding model to meet the advice needs of its beneficiaries? KDR is a sustainable growth model.
  • The charity and public advice sector is shrinking whilst demand is increasing – we need a growth model.
  • Should disabled people be dependent on charity for the pursuit of their rights?
  • I’ve had positive experience of no win no fee non-lawyer agreements in my own life. I liked the fact that my adviser would only get paid if he won my case! It felt much better than either being frightened by solicitors costs or being dependant on charity.
  • Solicitors are too expensive for the vast majority of people and legal aid for the areas I work in has all but disappeared.

Why don’t you do it for free?

Most services are free - it's only if I fully take on your case and win it that I charge anything.

When I reach a level of income equal to my last salary I will put the money into employing staff to expand KDR.

If I was a plumber nobody would expect me to work for free.

Are you providing self-help resources?

Yes, these are being developed and added to the site in the different subject categories. They are free to access and use.  I try to concentrate on areas where there's nothing else out there as there is already so much and you'll find links to other suggested free sites too.