Simpson Millar LLP working with the South Yorkshire Police Federation

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2 Simpson Millar LLP Background Simpson Millar LLP has been providing services to trade unions and their members for well over 100 years. We currently work with the CWU, GMB and a number of other unions and associations. Simpson Millar LLP is committed to representing individuals (whether trade union members or members of the public). We do not act for large corporations or public bodies. We are a national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Gateshead, Lancaster, Leeds, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Wimbledon. Services to Trade Union Clients The services we provide to our trade union clients include employment law advice, free or discounted wills for members, personal injury claims (including holiday claims, road traffic accident claims, clinical negligence, occupational/industrial disease, conveyancing, family law, consumer protection, education, health and social care law and financial services. We also offer free legal consultations to trade union members through our Legal Helpline, providing guidance on a wide range of everyday issues. Due to our size and experience we are able to offer a bespoke service to each of our trade union clients tailored to their specific needs. Our Client Centered Business Model We pride ourselves on our focus on client service and a creative approach to help our clients achieve their objectives. We have a reputation for the provision of legal services of the highest quality at a price which represents excellent value for money. We have held Investors in People accreditation for more than ten years and we were the first law firm in England and Wales to achieve the Law Society s coveted practice management standard Lexcel which we have held for a similar period of time. Paul Marsh, the Chairman of the Law Society said : Gaining Lexcel accreditation is quite a feat, but to achieve it 10 times is an extraordinary achievement. Simpson Millar not only provides a quality service to

3 clients, it is also a business operating at the highest standard. These are vital ingredients for securing Lexcel accreditation. Simpson Millar have clearly got into the habit of providing a first rate service. Here's to another 10 years. In addition to this in September 2011, we became the first organisation in the UK to achieve the Diversity in Business Accreditation, awarded by Equality Works. In the case of trade unions we work hard to assist them in supporting their members at work and to enhance the value of union membership by providing additional services to members and their families. We are constantly looking for ways to add to and expand these services and to help our trade union partners to market their services to their members and prospective members. We also get involved in campaigns that our union clients may be running and help charitable and other support groups. For example, we actively participate in and fundraise for the CWU s annual Humanitarian Aid Convoy. Simpson Millar LLP comprises of 25 partners, 10 Associates, 2 Consultants, and 52 fee earners along with 128 support staff. Managing Partner, Peter Watson, is responsible for the day-to-day running of the firm and is supported by the Management Committee and Equity Partners of the business.

4 Overview of our Services Our long history with the trade union movement has given us a good understanding of the importance of the relationship between the union and its members and our duties to both. Our services are designed to enhance and compliment that relationship. We can provide online access to reports and detailed information about cases through our bespoke extranet facility SkyLegal which provides transparency in the work we do and enables the client to know as much about the case as we do. This paper details those services which could be regarded as providing additional benefit to your members in addition to mainstream union services as well as personal injury and employment. We have focused on the service areas which were of particular interest to you when we met in March of this year. Financial Services Simpson Millar LLP is one of the few law firms in England and Wales to have its own in-house, independent financial advice department. The department can provide advice to members and dependents of union members on a variety of different issues such as mortgages, life assurance, investment, and pensions as well as the lump sum investment of damages in successful personal injury or clinical negligence cases. The charges associated with that advice will vary from case to case but we will provide those services at rates preferential to members and dependents of the trade union. We are happy to organise workshops or face to face sessions with small groups to discuss preretirement advice and general financial reviews. Education Law MG Law (trading as Maxwell Gillott) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Simpson Millar LLP. Our team is highly respected as one of the leading providers of legal services in the field of education law. Examples of areas where MG Law may be able to assist your members are in respect of school admission or exclusion appeals, Special Educational Needs (SEN) Statements and where necessary, Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal representation. We are able to offer these services to members and as far as we are aware, we are the only mainstream union firm to do so. Over 1 in 5 pupils have an identified special educational need (1.7 million). Only 220,000 have a statement of special educational need. Approximately 3,000

5 appeals are made in relation to SEN per year; far fewer than could be made if parents were properly advised. MG Law s expertise could be vital to members in ensuring they can safeguard the best possible education for their children. The success rate of appeals is high. Even when the principle of entitlement to a statement of SEN is conceded there can be lengthy battles about the correct provision under the statement. Aside from the disadvantage to the child concerned, trying to tackle the SEN process alone can be extremely difficult and stressful for families. We can be there to support your members who find themselves in this situation and help to relieve some of the stress. Community Care Many families find it difficult to arrange proper respite care for their disabled children or relatives. Social services departments are already hard pressed to fund appropriate care in the community and this will only worsen as budget cuts increase. As a result many people will continue to go without the provision to which they are entitled. Maxwell Gillott are experts in social care and securing respite services for carers. We can help where people have difficulties obtaining assessments; assist where there are disputes over service provision and with navigation through the new world of personal budgets. In addition we can advise where there are disputes about what is in the best interests of someone who cannot decide for him or herself. For families who find themselves in these situations, we can provide support and advice to help make the situation less stressful for the member and their family. Health Care Law Another aspect of the work we do through Maxwell Gillott is health care law. We are all aware of growing budgetary pressures at a time of significant advances in medical knowledge and treatment. The need for legal advice in this sector has therefore never been more important. Areas of health care law covered include advice and representation on health care funding which may reduce care home fees, or form part of an individual budget for care in the community and access to treatment. Legal Aid may be available subject to the client s means. Public Law Challenging the decisions of public authorities through judicial review or by raising human rights issues will have increasing importance as sweeping

6 changes are made to the public sector. Trade unions will look to use every available option for protecting their members and service users. Specialist legal advice can offer a valuable additional means of challenge, particularly as in our experience, many service providers fail to interpret new legislation correctly when it is first introduced, and they will have a greater incentive to cut back in any event given the budgetary constraints. Correctly identifying the issues and making sure that initial steps are taken with a view to maximising the chances of success at a later date can be critical. We are able to take an accessible, partnership approach, being informally involved at the early stages of a possible challenge. Our team of public law specialists is nationally recognised. We are the only major trade union law firm to hold a Legal Aid contract in public law as well as education and community care. This means that we are not only able to act on the instructions of trade unions to challenge public decisions but where appropriate we may be able to access public funding to act on behalf of service users. Family Law In matters relating to family law, we can offer fixed fees for divorce proceedings and discounts for other matrimonial work. The fixed fee and discount is available to trade union members and their dependents. The hourly rate depends on the nature of the matter and the seniority of the solicitor required. We can also offer flexible payment agreements for those members who wish to take advantage of this facility. We are also involved with supporting the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV) led by Baroness Scotland. Emma Pearmaine, our Head of Family Law and Matrimonial is providing training, support and advice to the CAADV committee and raising awareness of domestic violence with a number of our trade union partners. Emma is also a member of the Family Court Union Parliamentary Group and is involved in providing support and feedback on government papers. Conveyancing We offer high quality domestic and commercial conveyancing services supported by leading edge technology to ensure a smooth transaction at competitive prices. In respect of trade union members and their dependents, we

7 can offer discounts from our normal fee structure in respect of transactions for the sale and purchase of property in England and Wales. Wills and Probate Services Simpson Millar LLP has an effective and efficient will writing service. We can offer standard wills free of charge to trade union members, as part of a comprehensive legal services package, subject to agreement of those services. Where the members spouse also makes a will in similar terms, known as a mirror, we may able to provide this free of charge as well. Should any members dependent require a will, the standard cost for such wills would be plus VAT although, where the person making the will elects to appoint Simpson Millar LLP as an executor to the will, we would reduce this charge to plus VAT. For those members requiring more complex wills, these are done on the basis of hourly rates although we can offer discounts on those rates to your members and indeed to their dependents. So far as probate services are concerned, we are unable to offer a fixed fee but can provide a discount on our hourly rates for trade union members and their dependents. Consumer Disputes Our Consumer disputes team handle a range of Consumer related issues such as:- setting aside unfair credit agreements mis-sold payment protection insurance mis-sold investments appealing rejected insurance claims defective product liability We generally handle the above types of claim on a no win no fee basis and are happy to explain matters in more detail should you require. Holiday Claims Simpson Millar LLP has a specialised Holiday Claims Department. We deal with all aspects of problems whilst on holiday. These include problems with bookings, travel, hotel accommodation or a range of other issues. This can also include personal injury if not already covered by existing arrangements. In relation to holiday illness or injury claims we act on a no win no fee basis.

8 Employment Law Our employment law team consists of a number of highly respected specialist employment lawyers with a wealth of experience across the entire employment field. This includes discrimination, contractual matters, unfair dismissal and redundancy, transfer of undertakings, pensions and equal pay. We provide advice and assistance to union officials with relatively straight forward day-to- day enquiries but we are equally experienced in representing union members in complex test cases which are exploring points of legal principle in the highest courts. Our team also gives advice to officers on challenges to industrial action ballots, workplace recognition agreements, support for statutory recognition and representation in the CAC. Clearly, there are difficult political and economic challenges currently facing trade unions and the pressures on union officials are growing. Our personalised approach ensures that we prioritise building a relationship with individual officials which enables us to provide immediate support when required. We regularly provide training for union officials and their members on a whole range of employment-related issues. In the last year two partners in our team have been active within the TUC and GMB to advise and deliver training on the Equality Act. We have recently written the TUC Equality Guide. In addition to this we work with partner organisations such as Equality Works Ltd to provide broader, more comprehensive services, not only by lending support for individual cases, but offering training and advice to promote good industrial relations practice creating a more cohesive workplace through collective means. Personal Injury and Industrial Disease Simpson Millar LLP has a long-standing history of fighting for injured parties as a result of accidents whether they occur in the workplace, on private property or on the road. You will doubtless be aware that most personal injury claims are dealt with on the basis of a conditional fee or no win no fee agreement. Simpson Millar LLP can offer this to your members as well as members dependents or indeed, we can enter into a Collective Conditional Fee Agreement with you. We are happy to cover members for accidents both on and off duty and are also able to extend our services to members dependents.

9 In the event that you were to refer personal injury claims to us, we are happy to discuss terms with you subject to regulatory requirements regarding referral fees. Clinical Negligence Claims Simpson Millar LLP have a highly experienced and substantial clinical negligence team who would be able to help your members or their dependents who have suffered as a result of clinical negligence. Funding is available on both the basis of legal expenses insurance if the member has this in place or no win no fee agreements where funding from the Community Legal Service (Legal Aid) does not apply. In cases where a no win no fee agreement is appropriate we are happy to discuss terms with you regarding the successful conclusion of cases subject to compliance with the regulatory requirements governing the payment of referral fees by solicitors. You may be aware that the cost of initial investigations in clinical negligence claims can often be very substantial and is not recoverable should those investigations reveal that the member does not have a viable claim. For this reason many unions are unable to support Clinical Negligence Claims because of the cost of funding. The scheme operated by Simpson Millar LLP is completely free of charge to the member and the union irrespective of whether the matter proceeds after initial investigation or not. We are able to offer this as we have developed a bespoke after the event insurance product specifically for the funding of clinical negligence claims on behalf of trade union members. Summary Simpson Millar LLP provides the full range of services that you would expect from a national law firm. Whilst we appreciate some of these products will already be available from your existing providers, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss whether we can offer them on more favourable terms. We recognise that many trade unions have long standing arrangements with existing legal service providers and stress that we are happy to work as part of a panel in a spirit of cooperation with other firms where that is something that our union clients require. However, a number of our more specialised products may not currently be offered by your existing providers. Our telephone advice line can provide free initial advice to union members but we can

10 also provide specialised advice lines on areas such as education, healthcare and community care. In addition, wherever we would charge privately for a service, we would offer a meaningful discount to union members to reflect our relationship with the union. We will also offer a high degree of flexibility in relation to payment to enable union members to manage their budgets. If there is any other area not included in this paper that you would like to discuss we would be happy to do so. We can provide references both locally and nationally from other Union officials if required. To discuss any elements of the attached in further detail please contact Julie Dudson on

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