Scary stuff here for solicitors - it's been splashed all over the Law Society Gazette and The Lawyer...
It's the first (known) example of a firm of solicitors winning a big new client, and suddenly finding themselves stuck with some of their predecessor's fee-earners under TUPE. The new firm potentially faces substantial awards for unfair dismissal and failure to consult - which rather takes the fun out of the coup.
In this case, Barnetts solicitors in Southport won a contract from the Britannia Building Society to do their conveyancing work. Lees Lloyd Whitley lost the work as a result of the tender process. However, a tribunal found that some of Lees Lloyd Whitley's employees (the ones assigned to the Britannia contract) had transferred over to Barnetts, who found themselves stuck with unfair dismissal and failure to consult awards.
I can't do much better than refer to the excellent article by Charles Newman in The Lawyer - except for the fact that we've also got the tribunal's written reasons available.
[Thanks to Gordon Turner of Partners employment lawyers, who acted for the employees in this case, for sending me the tribunal's written reasons]