Legal Assistance and Expenses Insurance

Legal assistance & expenses cover – Why your organisation needs it

Any organisation can be faced with legal problems or disputes that can cost them time and money. The organisation could go to the expense of hiring a solicitor or try to deal with the problem themselves. However, potential costs are unknown and valuable management time can be taken up dealing with a problem. All too often an organisation will decide not to pursue their legal rights as it cannot afford the potential costs involved.

The AdviceUK legal assistance & expenses policy has been designed specifically to provide a cost-effective alternative to these problems. We’ve negotiated a group policy for AdviceUK members offering expert assistance whenever it’s needed and complete insulation against legal costs. We can therefore offer complete peace of mind for committee members (especially treasurers), a source of help and a means of delegation for hard-pressed advice centre managers and staff.

Applying for assistance & expenses insurance through AdviceUK

Applying to be part of our legal assistance and expenses group policy with DAS couldn’t be easier. We will work to make the process as smooth and easy for you as we can. It is our job to make sure that you get the right insurance product for you in a manner that is timely, efficient and friendly. If any of the information here doesn’t make sense, or you would like to discuss your personal circumstances you can call us on 0300 777 0106 or email us at insurance@adviceuk.org.uk.

Below you will find a brief summary of the policy. Please remember that this is not the full wording which can be emailed to you.

As an AdviceUK legal assistance & expenses policyholder your organisation would benefit from:

  • Specialist help and advice from a 24 hour helpline, on most subjects likely to affect your organisation;
  • A cheaper alternative to open-ended legal action and unlimited compensation awards;
  • Effectively budgeting for legal problems;
  • The ability to protect your organisation’s legal rights without worrying about potential legal costs;
  • A less stressful solution to legal problems;
  • Cover against costs and awards should you lose any case – up to £100,000 per claim.

What does the policy cover do?

  • The AdviceUK legal assistance & expenses group policy covers a wide range of situations, including:
  • Defence of employment disputes;
  • Defence of prosecutions and a wide variety of civil actions;
  • Property problems and bodily injury disputes;
  • Inland Revenue enquiries and investigations;
  • VAT Tribunal disputes.

With the AdviceUK legal assistance & expenses policy your organisation only has to worry about protecting your legal rights, not whether you can afford to.

The policy will cover legal costs and expenses of up to £100,000 per claim and there is no limit to the number of claims that can be made. Costs covered include fees and expenses of solicitors, barristers and expert witnesses, together with court costs and opponents’ costs if they are awarded against your organisation in a civil case.

This policy also covers for compensation awards made in cases of Unfair Dismissal or under some sections of the Data Protection Act.

Excess

There is an excess of £1,000 on each and every claim.

AdviceUK Legal Assistance & Expenses cover starts with round-the-clock legal advice.

From time to time every business will require professional legal advice. With AdviceUK’s Legal Assistance & Expenses cover, you have unlimited access to the DAS Eurolaw Commercial Legal Advice Service, which provides advice over the phone on all business legal problem areas, including such matters as employment, prosecutions, data protection, sex discrimination, race relations, statutory licenses, property problems, accidents and injuries, and tenancy disputes, as well as hundreds of other potential business problems.

Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the DAS Eurolaw Commercial Legal Advice Service is always ready to help when you need it. DAS solicitors and other qualified legal experts are specially chosen for their ability to explain complex legal matters in everyday language and they are kept fully briefed on new legal developments to ensure that the advice given to you is always up-to-date.

In many cases, legal advice can be given straight away over the phone, but DAS advisers have access to a large legal library and a computerised legal research system if required. In very complex cases a network of appointed lawyers in private practice can also assist.

The service can provide legal advice subject to the laws of the European Union, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Switzerland and Norway.

With the introduction of self-assessment, DAS has also added a Tax Advice Helpline. The helpline will be able to deal with any taxation queries your organisation may have relating to self-assessment or any other area of commercial taxation such as VAT or PAYE regulations.

Your organisation is also entitled to use the DAS Business Assistance Service. DAS can locate a local contractor to help you with a wide range of problems affecting your property. All costs incurred, including call-out charges, are your responsibility.

All your employees are also entitled to use the DAS Counselling Service. This service can help people deal with emotional or stress related problems, wherever they arise. Such problems can influence levels of absenteeism, productivity and safety. This service, operated by qualified DAS counsellors, is available to all employees and their families, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and calls are treated in the strictest of confidence.

Help before a Claim

The DAS Commercial Legal Advice Service will help you with any business legal query, but is especially useful if a dispute arises which might lead to a claim under the policy. DAS can help you follow the correct procedures to ensure that you are in the strongest legal position later.

The DAS claims service

DAS has a reputation second to none in providing quality claims assistance to its policyholders. Their aim is to provide you with practical assistance that will resolve any legal problem covered by the policy quickly and effectively. Although the policy is a legal expenses insurance cover, paying legal bills is only a small part of the service provided to policyholders.

Approved panel solicitors

If DAS need to find a solicitor to help you with a legal problem covered by the policy, they will normally appoint a firm from their panel of approved solicitors.

These firms have been very carefully chosen by DAS as experts in the areas of law covered by the policy. If you use an approved panel solicitor, DAS’s experience shows that it is likely that the outcome of your claim will be more favourable and the time taken to settle the claim reduced.

The policy includes cover for all of the major areas in which an organisation can expect to experience potential legal problems.

All of the covers and helplines are provided in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, and the limit of indemnity for each claim is £100,000. Legal Defence and Bodily Injury covers are extended to provide cover elsewhere in Europe where over 150 DAS claims offices are ready to help.

Employment disputes and compensation awards cover

If your organisation faces court or tribunal proceedings from an existing, former or even prospective employee, this cover will pay legal costs and expenses to defend your legal position. There is a very wide range of legislation which affects employment matters including employment protection, equal pay, redundancy, trade union matters, sex discrimination, race relations and pensions laws. All of this legislation is in addition to the common law rights of any employee to bring a case to the civil courts. In particular, this cover will ensure that your business is protected should you face any claims for wrongful or unfair dismissal.

Apart from incurring significant legal costs should any action be brought through an Industrial Tribunal, companies also face the risk of losing a case and being ordered to pay awards of compensation. Sometimes an out of court settlement may be necessary. In these cases, and subject to the policy terms, this cover will indemnify your organisation against costs of awards. In cases involving redundancy, DAS should be asked for approval before redundancy takes place.

Attendance expenses cover

One of the hidden expenses of legal action is the cost of the salaries or wages of directors or employees when they are away from work attending a court or tribunal at the request of the solicitor who is handling the case.

Employment manual

Dealing with employment matters is always going to be one of the most difficult areas for any organisation, so DAS have produced an Employment Manual which you can download FREE from their website: www.das.co.uk. The DAS Employment Manual has been designed to provide an organisation with the basis of good employment practice. Information is given on how to draft employment contracts, ensure recruitment procedures are acceptable and set up disciplinary and absence procedures.

The manual, in conjunction with the Legal Advice Service, means your organisation will always have ready access to advice on how to handle employment procedures and problems. The manual is also regularly updated to take account of changes in legislation.

Legal defence cover

Every business is subject to a mass of legislation, including laws such as the Health and Safety at Work act, the Companies Acts, Trade Descriptions Act, Sex Discrimination Act, Race Relations and Disability Discriminations Acts, Weights and Measures Acts, Prices Acts, Food Safety Act, Data Protection Act, VAT and Revenue Laws. All are being enforced with increasing effectiveness.

In particular, the Data Protection Act includes specialised notices relating to the control of computer stored information. Prosecutions or civil actions by individuals may result from an alleged misuse of data, or the retention of incorrect data. At a time when many businesses use computerised data storage this is yet another potential hazard of business life.

Much of the legislation applying to companies also specifically affects the directors, officers or employees of the organisation, who can face prosecution or civil action as individuals. In addition, employees who are trustees of their company pension fund may face criminal or civil actions arising from their special duties. Defending prosecutions can be extremely expensive, especially as expert witnesses are often needed. When unlimited fines, closures and other sanctions are possible, it is important that the best defence available is presented as forcibly as possible.

Pension fund trustees

Defend civil proceedings brought against an employee as a trustee of their company pension fund.

Jury service cover

A potential loss for a business can be the temporary absence of staff who are called for Jury Service. DAS pays the wages or salaries of employees called for jury service in so far as they are not recoverable from the court.

Property protection cover

Every business occupies premises which it owns or rents and possesses goods and equipment which it uses or produces in the course of its activities. At any time these goods and premises can be damaged or threatened with damage. Financial loss may be suffered through the negligence of, or a nuisance caused by, someone else. The resultant damage and financial loss may not be insured. In the event of a problem, it is vital to have the necessary financial strength and expertise to start proceedings to protect legal rights. Legal action to obtain compensation or an injunction to prevent damage is costly and may be uncertain in outcome. Many businesses would hesitate before taking action at their own cost, even though they may have a strong case in law.

Tax protection and Inland Revenue cover

Any businessperson would be concerned at the prospect of an in-depth investigation of their company’s tax affairs by the Inland Revenue. The arrival of self-assessment will also mean companies are faced with full enquiries into their tax affairs. Stricter enforcement of National Insurance contributions is also likely to see a rise in problems for companies. In the event of an investigation or enquiry the policy will provide cover for accountants’ fees and legal costs where required.

VAT tribunal disputes cover

Customs and Excise officials are involved in the running of nearly every business through their administration of the VAT system. Although VAT has been established for many years, there are still queries and problems which are referred to Customs and Excise for a decision. If your organisation is dissatisfied with a decision, this policy will provide for the cost of legal representation to enable pursuit of an appeal through the VAT Tribunal System. The cover provides not only legal expenses but also accountants’ fees and expenses to protect the policyholder’s interests in a dispute.

Bodily injury cover

If any director, officer or employee of the business is killed or injured as a result of any non-motor accident arising from their employment duties, cover is provided to pursue a claim for compensation, including loss of wages or salary.

What’s next?

You can find the LAE proposal form, policy wording and terms of business on this page. If you are interested in taking up insurance through us please fill in the proposal form and email  it to us now for a quote at insurance@adviceuk.org.uk.

This is a group policy provided by DAS and negotiated and held by AdviceUK.