Usdaw Rules of Legal Assistance
1. Usdaw has complete discretion on whether to grant or to continue legal assistance to its members or their families. We will exercise that discretion fairly and consistently in accordance with these rules.
2. To be eligible for legal assistance:
- You must be a fully paid up member at the time of the event or incident giving rise to your claim.
- In employment cases you are not entitled to legal assistance if the issues relating to your claim arose before you joined the Union.
- You must remain a fully paid up member.
- You must comply with the Rules of Legal Assistance.
3. Cases will be supported only if they have reasonable prospects of success, they are proportionate in value to the cost of pursuing the claim, they are not an abuse of process or fundamentally dishonest and no reasonable offer of settlement has been made.
4. Once legal assistance is granted the case will be kept under review to ensure that the rules are complied with and the case continues to enjoy reasonable prospects.
5. Legal assistance may be refused or withdrawn in any of the following circumstances (the list is not exhaustive):
- If you cease to be a member.
- If you are in arrears of membership contributions.
- If you are in breach of the Union’s rules.
- If your claim brings you into conflict with the Union; its policies; its ethos; or officers.
- If you have instructed or taken legal advice outside the Union.
- If you instruct or take advice from any other legal representative.
- If you have been dealing with a claim yourself or through another representative and you ask us to take over conduct of it.
- If you reject the reasonable advice of the Union appointed representative as to the conduct and/or settlement of your claim.
- If you fail to provide reasonable instructions or fail to provide instructions at all.
- If you appear to have no cause of action and/or your claim does not enjoy reasonable prospects of success and/or it is an abuse of process.
- If you behave in a manner which has or is likely to destroy trust and confidence between you and your representative.
- If you require the Union or its solicitors to act improperly.
- If you deliberately mislead the Union or its solicitors or provide false information or if all or any part of the claim is fundamentally dishonest.
- If the necessity for legal advice has been caused by drunkenness, drug use, wilful neglect of duty or other misconduct or by any criminal act on your part.
- If you fail to co-operate.
- If you insist upon dealing with the claim in a way that is significantly disproportionate to the amount or issues involved.
- a claim made against the Union, its employees, Executive Council, officers and representatives.
6. You must co-operate with the Union and its solicitors; your representative and any experts appointed on your behalf:
- You must use the solicitors appointed by Usdaw.
- You must keep appointments.
- You must provide any information or instructions requested by the deadline set.
- You must behave reasonably and provide reasonable instructions to your case representative
- You must provide honest and accurate information.
- You must remain in contact with Usdaw and your case representative and respond promptly to letters; email; and calls.
- You must deal with your representative politely and treat them with respect.
7. You must authorise Usdaw and/or its solicitors to:
- Disclose to the court, tribunal and opponents all relevant information in respect of the claim and/or recovery of costs.
- Disclose to Usdaw Legal Department and/or the Executive Council and/or the Central Officials of the Union their advice and any information relating to your claim.
8. You are entitled to reject the advice of Usdaw and/or the solicitors and instruct another representative, but Usdaw will not be responsible for their charges and disbursements nor any costs awarded against you.
9. If Usdaw legal assistance is refused or withdrawn, the Union will not be liable for any legal costs or expenses you subsequently incur.
10. Usdaw can refuse to pay your legal bills and those of other parties and can require you to pay to the Union any sums it has paid out on your behalf if costs are awarded against you or are not recovered because of:
- Your own false statements.
- There is a finding that part of, or all of the claim is fundamentally dishonest.
- You have deliberately concealed or failed to disclose important information.
- Your unreasonable actions or failure to act after legal proceedings have been commenced.
- A settlement being made by you without the knowledge and/or approval of the Union.
11. In an employment tribunal claim Usdaw will not meet any costs awarded against you when:
- You have been given a costs warning by the tribunal and/or ordered to pay a deposit.
- You have been advised by the Union that the prospects of success are poor and there is a risk of costs being awarded against you.
- The tribunal has awarded costs because of your dishonesty or unreasonable conduct.
12. In prosecution cases solicitors will be instructed to give preliminary advice as to assess whether there is a defence to the charge.
- Legal assistance will only be continued if the solicitors advise that there are reasonable prospects of a defence to the charge.
- Members are required to apply for State Legal Aid at the earliest opportunity.
13. You must co-operate with your solicitors in recovering legal costs including any success fee or additional amount from your opponent.
14. If you settle the claim outside the terms of this Agreement then you agree that you will pay the costs and any additional amount due to Usdaw and its solicitors for the work done by them, if necessary from your compensation or your new solicitors’ costs.
15. By accepting Usdaw legal assistance you agree that should there be any arrears of Union contributions at the date compensation is agreed in your favour; the Union and/or its solicitors may deduct the amount of the arrears from the compensation.
16. Family members must also comply with these rules and the member must maintain their Union membership and remain up-to-date with contributions.
17. Assistance will not be granted to a family member if they are employed in a company where Usdaw is recognised for any purpose and they should have been in membership.