Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Legal victories for members

judge's hammer and block

In the short time he has been with the association, ASCL's in-house solicitor, Tim Glover has made a material difference to members who have found themselves in difficulty.

Members have always had the backing of ASCL's legal firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, but with membership growing and leaders' vulnerability increasing, we felt that an in-house solicitor would be able to provide faster, more direct legal support to members, and to field officers and hotline advisers who work with members on a day-to-day basis.

Tim was appointed in May 2006 and within days, he was called on to support two leadership team members who had been placed on suspension and were facing dismissal for gross misconduct. Three field officers were providing support and Tim was called upon for legal advice and assistance. After protracted negotiations, the disciplinary proceedings were dropped and both members reinstated.

In the summer, ASCL took up the case of a member in the independent sector, who was facing disciplinary proceedings which would have resulted in her dismissal.  Working closely with the field officer, a vigorous defence was mounted which involved obtaining documents and supportive witness statements. When these were ultimately disclosed, the employer withdrew the disciplinary proceedings.

Since his arrival, Tim has issued six separate claims to employment tribunals on behalf of members. Where necessary he has attended tribunal hearings alongside members and field officers assigned to the case.

Tim routinely advises field officers representing members involved in negotiating termination payments, especially when compromise agreements are on the table. The compromise agreement is a legal document which effectively prevents members from pursuing any further legal action against their former employers in return for a compensation payment. Therefore it is essential that these documents are correctly worded in order to make sure members get the best possible outcome.

In highly technical cases, ASCL calls in the expertise of  top London legal firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain. Tim has enlisted their support on behalf of a headteacher who was facing possible health and safety prosecution in Wales and a headteacher in Scotland who suffered a personal injury when she tripped over an electric flex at work.

Tim's first year has been extremely busy and it is looking as though 2007 will be equally active, if not more so. Members who find themselves in a position of difficulty should call the hotline officer on 0116 299 1122.

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