Law Society dismissal case settles out of court

An unfair dismissal claim brought against the Law Society by its former head of IT Ashley Sollitt has been settled out of court.

The claim was settled after Sollitt agreed to accept the original severance package of u91,000 which he was first offered by the Law Society on his departure in May 1998.

Sollitt – who was responsible for the Regis computer project which ended in fiasco in 1997 – claimed the Law Society dismissed him last May instead of giving him early retirement to avoid paying him a pension worth more than u300,000.

Sollitt, represented by Blake Lapthorn partner Michael Tackley, at North London Employment Tribunal last week, argued that his appraisal reports gave no hint his job was at risk and that he had been dismissed because his job ceased to exist.

Law Society secretary general Jane Betts told the tribunal she had written in a report on Sollitt’s progress issued after the Regis project ended that his work was “excellent”.

But she said that in August 1997, a year after the Regis project ended, “it was becoming harder and harder to carry Ashley and we had been trying to encourage him to keep his confidence up”.

Betts acknowledged that Sollitt was “technically competent”, but said both Sollitt’s staff in the IT department and Law Society council members lacked confidence in him.