Member Resources

Legal Assistance to Members

Estimated reading: 5 minutes

1. Assistance Provided

AEU NT makes provision for legal assistance to members in matters connected with their employment in instances where the employer is unprepared to give support.

AEU NT does not normally provide legal assistance in matters that are not work related. However, where a formal arrangement with a Law Firm is in place members may access the firms’ services on non-employment matters at a discounted rate where available.

AEU NT Branch Officers and employees provide industrial advice to members about their employment entitlements and employment law rights. Where matters cannot be resolved with the employer and/or require formal legal advice and/or court representation, AEU NT will consider contributing in whole or in part to the cost of such legal assistance. This will generally involve matters which are within the jurisdiction of the Northern Territory Magistrates Court including the Work Health Court or Teachers Registration Board or the Federal Court or the Fair Work Commission.

ssistance may be available where the AEU NT Branch believes that the member has a valid claim and that injustice would arise if assistance were not provided.
Examples of such situations include: –

* Pursuing entitlements under the Work Health & Safety Act, Return to Work Act or the Fair Work Act;
* Action for recovery of withheld wages or other entitlements;
* Defence of charges or actions brought under the Public Sector Employment and Management Act;
* Applications to the Anti Discrimination Commission or the Ombudsman.

The AEU NT Branch will consider requests for legal assistance in respect to defending civil actions or criminal charges where they are incurred within the normal employment relationship.

2. Conditions Required for Legal Assistance to be provided

As legal assistance can be a considerable expense in any single case, the AEU NT will only consider providing assistance on the following conditions: –

* the applicant has acted according to the AEU NT’s Code of Ethics;
* the applicant has truthfully supplied the AEU NT and its legal advisers with all relevant information;
* the matter for which assistance is sought has arisen directly from the member’s employment;
* the member was a fully financial member of the AEU NT at the time the matter arose;
* the member is defending the action or pleading not guilty to the allegation or charge;
* AEU NT legal assistance must be sought, and approval given prior to any legal costs being incurred. No reimbursement for legal expenses already incurred will be considered;
* the member agrees to use the AEU NT’s solicitors unless the AEU NT determines otherwise and if it decides otherwise, the Branch may impose such conditions as it believes suitable;
* the member waives the privilege of solicitor and client and undertakes to share the advice provided in their case so that may help other members in future similar or related matters;
* the member agrees to formally make undertakings to the union in respect of support provided.

3. Procedures for Seeking Legal Assistance from the AEU NT Branch

In the first instance, the member should contact a Full-Time Officer or an AEU NT employee. A Full-Time Officer will advise whether it is a matter for which the member should apply for legal assistance.

The member seeking assistance must write to the AEU NT Branch Executive providing details of the matter and request assistance. This will be kept confidential. A copy of the AEU NT Application for Legal Assistance form is available through the AEU NT Office.

The AEU NT Branch Executive will advise the member of its decision, either to support or not support the application, or request further information.

Where approval is given by the AEU NT Branch Executive, the member will be required to make undertakings to the Union in respect of support provided, including the reimbursement of legal costs in the event such costs are awarded or recovered in favour of the member.

In all cases where legal assistance is granted, the AEU NT Branch Executive reserves an absolute discretion to discontinue such assistance at any time.

Where a member unilaterally discontinues a legal action, the AEU NT reserves the right to withdraw legal assistance funding and to require reimbursement of legal costs already paid.

4. Police Interviews

The only information a citizen is legally obliged to give the police is their name and address. If arrested, it is unwise to engage in discussion with police without first obtaining legal advice. Members are strongly advised not to plead guilty without first consulting a solicitor.

5. Confidentiality

Members should note that the proceedings of the AEU NT Branch Executive are entirely confidential in respect to cases where the Union provides legal assistance to members.

If a member thinks they need legal assistance they should contact the AEU NT Branch Office at once. There are many situations in which teachers and educators should seek such defence and the employer should accept this responsibility. The Union can explain to members how to obtain employer defence is provided by the Department.

( Member Support # Legal Support

Legal Assistance to Members.pdf

Share this Doc

Legal Assistance to Members

Or copy link