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Legal teams expect a rise in HR issues in 2023

Legal departments expect employment disputes and HR compliance matters to take up more of their time in 2023 than they did the year before.

In a Winmark survey commissioned by law firm Kingsley Napley, nearly half (46%) of general counsel and in-house legal teams asked said they thought the workload for employment disputes was likely to increase this year.

Over a third (39%) said they expected more HR compliance matters to come to them over the next two years too.

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Corinne Aldridge, partner and head of employment at Kingsley Napley, said cooperation should be front of mind for HR teams concerned about the legal cases ahead.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “We know the challenges facing businesses in the next 12 months will be HR related as well as financial so to that end it makes sense that in-house lawyers should be involved in new HR policies as they are prepared.”

HR teams preparing staff exits, redundancies and recruitment programmes should consult with legal teams in the planning stages, Aldridge added, to minimise the risk of future disputes.

She said: “The quid pro quo is that general counsels must ensure employment law expertise is adequately considered in the resourcing of their teams for 2023.

“Alternatively, they must ensure HR teams have access to the best possible external legal advice suited to the road ahead and that budget for it is planned for.”

Disputes were where most legal teams (75%) expected to see an increase in workload in the year ahead.

This was followed by debt recovery (68%) and fraud (49%).

Data compliance was the area legal teams felt would be the least likely to add to their workload.

A third (32%) of respondents said data compliance was unlikely to add to workload, 43% had a neutral response, and a quarter (24%) said it was likely to.

The Preparing for the Economic Downturn Impact Study: How the crisis will influence legal departments is based on an online survey of  of 50 senior legal professionals completed during November 2022.