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The reality of legal proceedings rarely looks like it does in TV dramas like Anatomy of a Scandal and The Split. Most legal experiences are far less dramatic. Similarly, the cases that make good newspaper headlines are, inevitably, the most newsworthy... or involve celebrities.

Media coverage of employment claims can create an equally misleading picture that the difference between each year’s highest and average settlement figures would quickly dispel. The public only gets to hear about cases that are either very high value, high profile or both.

This isn’t to say that lower value, less celebrated cases aren’t every bit as important to the policyholders who have to bring them. Often, it’s fair to say, they are more so. That is a core purpose of legal expenses insurance and the very mission of ARAG, globally; to provide access to justice to those who might otherwise be unable to afford it.

In the current, very difficult economic climate, our everyday employment claim successes might see a client reinstated to the job that enables them to feed their family or win a settlement - of thousands rather than millions - that will pay the mortgage until they can find a new position.

That’s not to say that our partner firms don’t act in some very large and noteworthy claims too. In recent months, ARAG has helped policyholders to achieve justice in some significant cases.

In one, a high-net-worth policyholder has received a multi-million-pound settlement from the former employer which had discriminated against and unfairly dismissed them. Such cases are obviously unusual, but they underline the value of legal protection, even to people of considerable means.

But it’s not always about the money.

In another recently settled case, an ARAG policyholder was awarded the maximum compensation award available to the tribunal, having been unfairly dismissed from their job as a pilot. However, the tribunal also ruled that the false claims which led to their dismissal were “undocumented and unsubstantiated”.

While the compensation is welcome, in the light of our policyholder’s treatment and loss of earnings, it is the tribunal’s findings and comments that have enabled them to secure another, comparable position and continue with their successful career.

This example is unusual because the costs of pursuing a claim should be proportionate to the prospective award but, in this case, the primary objective was never the compensation. It was much more important to set the record straight, restore the pilot’s professional reputation and enable them to return to the career they love.

Noteworthy as these two cases may be, it is good to remember that they represent just the tip of an iceberg. While each is unusual in its own way, what they have in common with many of the employment claims we pursue is policyholders empowered to take on powerful companies that have acted illegally.

Every day, people working in all sorts of jobs, some wealthy but most of relatively modest means, are able to stand up to employers that may have treated them badly, because they have an ARAG legal expense insurance policy.

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.