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Union solicitors

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by TeacherBarbiestar, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. TeacherBarbiestar

    TeacherBarbiestar New commenter

    Do they exist or are they like unicorns or Santa Claus? I have a ‘clear case’ these are the words of a barrister good people. The union however seem to be reluctant to go to Employment Tribunal and I may end up having to instruct a legal professional my self.
  2. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    if you look through the tribunal judgments the are plenty that indicate that it was a union solicitor/barrister involved, so they must exist.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter


    Unions and solicitors do indeed have good working relationships. Some unions. Some solicitors. It all depends!

    A barrister? So this is someone you know socially. You haven't instructed a solicitor. This is just casual speculation by a barrister. S/he will probably have included a phrase such as "apparently" or "it sounds as if" or "you may well have". I don't imagine s/he will have had the benefit of all the details. You'll have given a brief account. So the fact that you tell us a barrister says you have a clear case isn't going to make me encourage you to disregard the union's opinion. They have more evidence at their disposal.

    But you must persist in asking them why they're reluctant to go to Tribunal. Get an answer you understand. It may still disappoint you however. That's a possibility. So keep checking and asking. If you remain dissatisfied then you'll have to go to a solicitor. There are time limits on these things and it depends where you are in the process. It depends on the basis of your claim.

    Don't disclose too much here because it might reveal your identity.
  4. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    A barrister can be directly instructed by a prospective client...
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's my understanding that, having already instructed another legal agent, the OP may no longer avail herself of the services of the union.

    I assume from the phrase "may end up" that she has not yet done so.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    From my own experience I think the unions play it casual to start whilst they suss you out and the situation that you are in. I think they need to get to know what's gone on first and make sure you are not just a bunny boiler. If you look at it from their perspective there are so many people going to them thinking they have a case. They have to sift out the ones who actually don't or those who go so far and then back down when push comes to shove. Solicitors cost the unions £ and they need to be sure before they commit this £. Makes sense if you think about it.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I do not wish to deter you but my wife had a "clear case". She's not a teacher but it cost her £7,000 to hire a solicitor. There were lots of letters and allegations made and denials issued etc etc. She ended up with pay for 3 months plus some outstanding expenses. Then deduct the £7K.

    It took until the very last day of the 3-month period to come to a solution without going to tribunal. It was very draining emotionally even with top-flight solicitors doing all the work.

    You can see why the unions are wary of promising legal backing. The possibility of spending thousands of pounds of members' contributions and having (potentially) very little to show for it after months of work.

    My wife's case was strong but she still didn't end up with anything more than the pay she would have received if she'd worked her notice rather than claiming constructive dismissal. It's a minefield, I'm afraid.
  8. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Sorry to hear that @grumpydogwoman. Thats a very dissapointing outcome for you both after all your efforts.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  9. TeacherBarbiestar

    TeacherBarbiestar New commenter

    Thank you for sharing this. I fear I may end up in a similar situation to your wife. Everybody that’s reviewed the case has said the employer will have to pay up eventually. There’s no defence good enough to justify their actions but it seems they are determined to make me shell out the most money for the least reward.

    Really if a Respondant has no reasonable chance of success, they should settle at the first opportunity instead of clogging up the tribunal system and wasting LA money on hiring legal representation.
  10. 1970devon

    1970devon Occasional commenter

    I have recently been appointed a union solicitor funded by the union. The union passed on my information to her and have agreed funding based on it being a likely positive outcome for me. Having met with the solicitor she has made it very clear that it is by no means a clear success for me. The initial paperwork is now in and, having been told that currently the hearing could be over a year away, I need ti decide whether to progress or not in January. So yes, they do exist.
  11. silversnapdragon

    silversnapdragon New commenter

    I think there’s quite a bit of red tape involved in getting a union solicitor from what I can gather from our union Also there are these rules where you have to have joined the union within a certain period of your employment
  12. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Don't the Unions employ their own solicitors?

    I know the NASUWT use Thompsons, but I doubt that they pay them by the hour more X amount on retainer for up to so much work and then a scale.
  13. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Why? When they know with enough emotional stress you will probably settle.

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