Employee Legal Representation/disciplinary

25th October 2011
Employee Legal Representation/disciplinary image

Should an Employee be allowed Legal Representation

One issue that frequently arises in Disciplinary Procedures is whether or not an Employee subject to those proceedings has a right to legal representation at the Disciplinary Meetings.  The ACAS Code of Practice, although not binding, provides guidance that a Tribunal will usually expect an Employer to follow; namely that the Employee should be allowed a Trade Union Representative or work colleague to be present.

However in certain cases Employees have tried to argue, under the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 6) that they should be entitled to have legal representation.  Most of these cases have related to Disciplinary Meetings involving teachers or doctors, who as well as facing the risk of dismissal could also latterly be barred from their profession as a result of the alleged misconduct.

A recent example of this is the case of R –v- The Governors of X School.  Here a Teaching Assistant was accused of forming an inappropriate relationship with a 15 year old boy.  Initially the Disciplinary Panel found the Teaching Assistant guilty of gross misconduct and there was an immediate dismissal.  At the same time, the dismissal was notified to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) so it could determine whether to place the Teaching Assistant on the “barred list” preventing him from working with school children.

The Teaching Assistant appealed against the dismissal using the internal Disciplinary Procedure, and requested legal representation which was refused.  The Teaching Assistant then sought a judicial review.  The Supreme Court rejected his application, since it felt that the ISA would carry out its own full investigation and make its own judgement upon the conduct of the Teaching Assistant.  Hence the Supreme Court felt that the ISA would not necessarily just follow the school’s decision.  As a result the Supreme Court felt that in the particular circumstances that there was no breach of the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to allow the Teaching Assistant any legal representation at the school’s internal Disciplinary Meetings.  However one of the Judges did disagree and felt that legal representation should be available at the disciplinary stage in such circumstances.

Daven Naghen, head of the Employment Team at Maples Solicitors LLP commented as follows:-

“In most Disciplinary Processes, there would ordinarily be no right for an Employee to require legal representation.  However, particularly with professions like teachers and doctors, the answer may not be quite so straight forward since the disciplinary outcome may lead to that Employee being barred from his or her profession.  In such circumstances the Courts have held that the refusal to allow legal representation may not amount to a breach of the Employee’s human rights but I do not think that an Employer can necessarily be sure of this finding in every case.  In cases of this nature, the Employer should seek independent legal advice before accepting or declining an Employee’s request for legal representation at a Disciplinary Meeting.”

For advice on this subject please contact either Daven Naghen on 01775 722261, daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com or at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 1DH or Gemma Mayer on 01775 722261, gemma.mayer@maplessolicitors.com or at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.


How Banks are Cashing in on Wills image

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills

Recent headlines have reported how banks are now cashing in on Wills.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, banks offered customers low cost Wills (or sometimes even free Wills) but the small print allowed the bank to charge extortionate rates to act as Executors. It is reported that banks are expecting billions of pounds of revenue from their Will writing services and administering estates and in some cases their fees have been over £12,000 to administer an estate as they look to charge a fixed fee PLUS a percentage of the deceased’s wealth.

If you or a loved one has made a Will through a bank we would urge you to check who you have appointed as Executors and check any small print which you may have signed. If you are unsure then please speak with one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate team who can look at your existing Will with you. It may be appropriate to make a new Will which revokes any previous Will you have made which could save your family thousands of pounds when your estate needs to be administered.

In the majority of cases, when someone has passed away we can provide the family with a quote of how much the legal fees will be so that there are no nasty surprises once the administration is complete.

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Gemma Mayer LLB

"I would highly recommend Maples Solicitors, especially Gemma Mayer, for any conveyancing work. The level of support and professionalism was excellent at all times. I also felt if I needed to ask or clarify anything that it was not an issue. Buying and selling a house is stressful enough, but Gemma helped me through it step by step."

Anita Toal LLB BA

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Daven Naghen LLB

"Daven provided an excellent service, from attending the first interview with me to the final court appearance. He filled me full of confidence that he would defend me to which he did and come out with an excellent outcome in view of my position that I had put myself in."

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

Mike Pepper gave us excellent advice. He was always most helpful and accommodating giving lucid explanations every step of the way. Thank you Mike.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!