Rule 15

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Legal Assistance

Institution of Legal Proceedings
1. Legal proceedings may be instituted at the discretion of the National Executive Committee should any member:

(a) be prosecuted or be taken into custody for an offence or offences alleged to have been committed in the execution of duty;

(b) be unjustly dismissed from employment with or without forfeiture of wages;

(c) be in any way illegally dealt with by the employer or their agents in connection with the execution of duty;

(d) have withheld any monies to which entitled, or to obtaining any just claim from the employer;

(e) need protection, or to establish a defence of reputation or character, in matters relating to employment;

(f) need to obtain damages or compensation for personal injuries sustained at work.

Road or Rail Accidents
2. Should any member be injured when proceeding to or from home or abode to work or in any road or rail accident, there shall be entitlement to legal assistance and legal proceedings may be instituted on such member’s behalf, or in the event of the death of a member, in the interests of any dependents, for the obtaining of damages or compensation for personal injuries, damage or loss sustained by the member or dependents.

Legal Assistance
3. A member desirous of obtaining the benefit of legal assistance shall communicate with the Branch Secretary, who will make application to Head Office for the grant of benefit, and supply all such particulars and information as may be required by the Head Office.

Employment of a Solicitor
4. The National Executive Committee or, in the intervals between meetings of that body, the General Secretary, may authorise the employment of a solicitor or place the case in the hands of the Union’s solicitors to act on behalf of the member concerned. The National Executive Committee or the General Secretary may, before giving authority for proceedings, take legal opinion upon the case, and act upon such opinion. The member must also accept the legal advice, subject to the rules. The Union will withdraw legal assistance where external legal advice is being given or used.

Agreement to Engage Legal Representation
5. Agreement must be sought from Head Office to engage legal representation to attend an inquest in which a member is concerned, or to defend a member against proceedings being taken, if the case is connected with employment and is covered by Clause 1 of this Rule.

Report to HO
A full report shall be forwarded to Head Office immediately before further action or expense is considered.

Assistance Not Granted
6. Should it be found that the necessity for legal assistance has been caused by drunkenness, wilful neglect of duty, or by any criminal act on the part of a member, this assistance shall not be granted and should a case be taken up and lost in consequence of the member’s own false statements and the court orders the member to bear the costs of the other side, the Union shall not pay same.

Cost of Proceedings
7. The cost of legal proceedings authorised by or on behalf of the Union, or in which the Union is concerned, shall be paid from the General Fund except that members successful in personal injury cases not covered by a collective conditional fee agreement shall contribute to the General Fund, five per cent of net settlements in excess of £1,000 up to a maximum of £100,000, and one per cent of that part of any settlement in excess of £100,000 with a £5,000 ceiling in respect of any settlement reached.

8. The National Executive Committee shall have the powerto institute or defend any legal proceedings if this is deemed to be in the interests of the members; but no claim for legal assistance for any accident or disablement which happened prior to a member being admitted to the Union, or whilst out of benefit, under the provisions of Rule 2, Clause 21, shall be entertained otherwise than in exceptional circumstances.

Members Declaration
9. No claim for damages or compensation for injuries to members will be taken up by the Union unless a declaration authorising the proceedings be made by the member injured or (in the event of death) by the dependents, and that in the event of the matter being withdrawn or otherwise settled by the person or persons concerned without the knowledge of the Union, such person or persons shall undertake the liability of any legal costs incurred. Branch Secretaries shall be kept informed of the particulars of any case in which they may be interested.

Medical Report
10. Should it be necessary to sustain an application for damages or compensation by the submission of a medical report, the expenses of such shall be paid by the Union.