POA Circulars

172 | 13.12.2011

Applications for Legal Advice

It has been drawn to the attention of the Legal Aid and National Executive Committee’s that members are not providing all of the information to our retained Solicitors when seeking legal advice on work related matters. As a result, the advice from the Solicitor dealing with the claim is being appealed to the Legal Aid Committee (LAC) and or National Executive Committee (NEC), on the basis that they have not considered all of the information. This is incurring unnecessary additional costs for the Union and in some cases member’s are having to respond to directions from the tribunal whilst the appeals are considered or the case is reviewed.

It is vital that members supply all available information to the Secretary of the Legal Aid Committee when applying for initial legal advice. If all of the information is not available the member should not delay in applying for initial legal advice, but indicate that further information will be forwarded in due course.    

The Union will always endeavour to protect the interest of the member when dealing with legal applications, but the Solicitors can only advise on the information provided. The Executive would like to take this opportunity to remind all Branch Officials and members that it is the member’s responsibility to ensure their application is forwarded to and received at POA Headquarters Cronin House, in a timely manner and in line with the rules and procedure as set out in the POA Legal Aid Handbook, which is available in local branch offices and on the POA website at www.poauk.org.uk

For ease of reference the time limit for Personal Injury Cases is 3 years from the date of the accident or knowledge of the illness. However to allow the Unions retained Solicitors to investigate the incident, these should be reported to Thompsons directly or forwarded to the Secretary of the LAC no later than 2 years and 6 months.

In relation to CICA claims, these must be lodged in the CICA offices within 2 years of the incident taking place.

Employment Tribunal claims must normally be registered within 3 months less 1 day from the last act complained of, but again, in order to allow our Solicitors to investigate matters, these should be submitted as quickly as possible, but no later than 1 month before limitation expires. It appears that some members are under the impression that they must await the outcome of a grievance before applying for legal advice, which is not the case.

All applications for initial legal advice must be submitted as soon as possible to avoid claims being out of time and remember it is the member’s responsibility to apply, not the official assisting them.

I trust you will draw the contents of this circular to all of your member’s attention.



Yours sincerely

 

PETE CHAPPLE
Finance Officer &
Chair of the Legal Aid Committee