Employment lawyers are advising bosses they should consider sacking problem employees sooner rather than later in the light of the government's Fairness at Work Bill. The bill, which was presented to Parliament last month, will make radical reforms to employment law, including lifting the ceiling on compensation for unfair dismissal from £12,000 to £50,000. Employees will be able to bring a claim after one year in the job, rather than two as now. Also included are family-friendly reforms: better maternity rights, parental and adoption leave, and a new right to take time off for family emergencies.

The Lord Chancellor has unveiled a new funding code which will make obtaining legal aid more difficult once the Access to Justice Bill, now going through Parliament, becomes law. The consultation paper says that the need to identify and fund only meritorious cases is 'doubly important' in the field of clinical negligence. It argues that this is because 'defendant costs are almost exclusively borne by public funds, which in some cases could be better spent on primary healthcare'.