Time Stamped Show Notes:
26s: How PCU members can access employment advice from Truth Legal.
1mins 15s: Does Truth Legal do any cases on a Legal Aid basis? No, it has pretty much died in this country. It is usually only on criminal matters or family matters in certain cases.
2mins 12s: What is No Win, No Fee? The lawyer only gets paid if they win. It’s easy to find these agreements for personal injury and clinical negligence but not for employment. If they settle or win it at trial, they can take up to 35% of the settlement. So, if they get £10,000, the maximum the lawyer could take is £3,500. To PCU members, we don’t deduct as much, it would be about 30%. The barrister’s costs aren’t on this agreement and we as a union have to decide if we can support this financially. Some barristers will offer No Win, No Fee but it isn’t very often.
6mins 11s: Firstly, you have to look at the papers before you decide if the case has any merit, how does this work with No Win, No Fee? We would offer this agreement to a case that is likely to win, and the compensation amount would be high enough. We would have to charge members for this which would be about £90 which is much less than usual.
8mins 4s: What is the benefit of being a PCU member? They get very favourable rates of £90 per hour vs £150-160 to those who aren’t members. We will also look favourably on No Win, No Fee agreements so there is a higher chance of getting these. The member’s family also gets preferential rates, not as good as the PCU member though.
9mins 27s: Is there a difference between a case being heard at a tribunal and a negotiated settlement in relation to costs? In employment law, you have 3 months less one day to start something like an ACAS Early Conciliation claim. Negotiation is what happens in the majority of cases. About 20% of our claims got to a hearing and we hope that number won’t be as high for PCU members as they will know the members have good lawyers.
10mins 55s: What happens if an employer makes an offer to settle a case and you think it is a reasonable offer, but the client wants more? It doesn’t come up that often. Our relationship with our clients is generally good and we would hope that it wouldn’t happen very often or at all because of the way we work. If it did happen, we might have to threaten to remove the No Win, No Fee agreement but we’ve never had to do that.
15mins 43s: You have a lot of experience in employment law, why don’t your solicitors do their own advocacy in the tribunal? When you go to law school, you choose to be a solicitor or a barrister. Solicitors do telephone hearings and preliminary hearings and sometimes trials, but the barrister is trained to do advocacy in a better way. Solicitors have such a good relationship with their clients, it is possible for them to lose their objectivity and barristers can give a second opinion.
17mins 56s: You’ll be offering reduced rates to members, what does the family part include? We don’t want to be overly prescriptive, it would be someone who you would regard to be your family. It is a reason to join and stay a part of the PCU.
20mins 40s: If a member wants to access these preferential rats, what to they have to do? On our website, you can search for PCU and click on the enquiry button. We will need to check that they are a member and it would be good to know the members are using this.
22mins 18s: Is there any area of the law that Truth Legal doesn’t cover? Lawyers today are more specialist. We offer personal injury, clinical negligence, industrial disease, employment law, professional negligence, general disputes and litigation, and property disputes.
23 mins 54s: To members, if you have any questions or feedback on this information, if it has been clear and concise, that would be helpful as we will be doing a series of these podcasts; one on personal injury, general advice to the union, how we can work together.