Frequently Asked Questions


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Not everyone is required to obtain a visa prior to visiting the United Kingdom.  If you do require a visa, you must apply for this from the country that you reside prior to travelling to the UK.

If you are studying a course that is below degree level at a higher education institution, you may work in the UK for a maximum of 10 hours per week.  If you are studying on a course that is degree level or above, you may work in the UK for a maximum of 20 hours per week.  Your visa will be endorsed with details of your work restrictions and you must ensure to adhere to these conditions.

Your compensation for constructive dismissal if awarded by an employment tribunal is made up of a basic award and a compensatory award.

The basic award is a statutory award that involves multiplying the relevant factors of the length of continuous service (up to a maximum of 20 years), your age and a week’s pay (as at the effective date of termination).

After addressing the basic award, the often, more larger compensatory award will then be considered.

The Employment Rights Act provides that this will be such amount as the Tribunal considers just and equitable in all the circumstances having regard to the loss sustained by the complainant in consequence of the dismissal insofar as that loss is attributable to action taken by the employer“.

In a recent case in 2015, the Employment Appeals Tribunal held that in the absence of an express term in your contract or other documentation requiring such disclosure, you are not under an implied duty to inform your employer of the prior allegations. You need to check your new contract carefully to see if this may affect you.

The pre-action protocols set out the best practice that should be adopted by parties to a dispute, and their legal advisers, before any proceedings are issued. The protocols set out the steps which should be taken by the parties and broadly aim to:

• Encourage the exchange of early and full information about a prospective claim.
• Enable parties to avoid litigation by agreeing a settlement before proceedings are commenced.
• Support the efficient management of proceedings where litigation cannot be avoided.

Specific pre-action protocols are in force for disputes concerning particular categories of case (for example, defamation or personal injury). If a case is not covered by a specific pre-action protocol, the parties should aim to comply with the Practice Direction on Pre-action Conduct and Protocols (“Pre-action PD”); the essence of which is to encourage parties to exchange information and make appropriate attempts to resolve the claim without issuing proceedings. If a party fails to comply with relevant specific pre-action protocols, or with the Pre-action PD, the Court may impose sanctions and may take the non-compliance into account when making case management directions and/or when making orders as to costs and interest rates on sums due.

The general rule is that the unsuccessful party in the litigation will pay part of the costs of the successful party. If such an order is made, costs are agreed between the parties or assessed by the Court and as a rule of thumb the loser will pay about half to three quarters of the successful party’s legal costs. You should therefore be aware that even if you win you may still have legal fees to pay.

However, the court may make a different order to take account of the conduct of the parties, and whether the successful party has succeeded on all the issues in dispute. There are ways in which a party can protect their position against the risk of paying the costs of the successful party, for example, by making a formal offer to settle the proceedings.

The compensation bands of awards for injury to feelings, known as the Vento bands have been updated.

In respect of claims presented on or after 6 April 2018, the Vento bands shall be as follows:

  • A lower band of £900 to £8,600 (less serious cases);
  • A middle band of £8,600 to £25,700 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band); and
  • An upper band of £25,700 to £42,900 (the most serious cases), with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £42,900. This guidance is not binding but tribunals must have regard to it when determining compensation sums.

If you receive an e-mail, letter, telephone call or you have been notified that you are in breach of copyright. The alleged claim may relate to a publication on your newsletter, website or on the sale of a product. Usually this notification states that if you do not take steps to deceit or remedy the situation, either by paying an “after-the-fact” copyright license fee, or by stopping any and all use of the content, the copyright owner will institute a court action. Don’t panic and do not take any radical steps or respond without first taking legal advice. First thing to do is to understand the alleged claim and see what makes most sense to your organisation in the circumstances.

If you wish to challenge the validity of a will or someone’s entitlement to administer an estate you must enter a caveat at the Probate Registry. This will give you time to carry out research and gather the relevant evidence to make your case.  The caveat is, however, open to a challenge by the other parties with an interest in the estate, who can issue you with a warning, a court form on which they state their interest.

Once you are served with a warning, you have 14 days days to enter by making an affidavit called an appearance. If you fail to respond in time, the caveat will cease to have an effect and a Grant may be sealed.

The appearance, issued at the Probate Registry, must state the caveator’s reasons as to why the caveat was entered and why the will in question is not valid or why the specific person is incapable of dealing with the estate fairly. The appearance must be sealed by the Probate Registry and served on the person who issued the warning.

Following an appearance, the caveat will remain in place and can only be removed if both the caveator and the estate’s representative consent, or the court makes a judgement that the caveat ought to be removed.

You should seek legal advice. You must take reasonable care in responding to a warning by way of an appearance. If an appearance or the original caveat was without merit you may be liable for legal costs.

What is suspension at work?

When you are notified by your employer that you have been suspended, you will not be allowed access to the workplace (or your colleagues). The reason for this is to allow the matter of your suspension to be investigated.

A suspension is not a formal disciplinary action in itself; however, it does often lead to disciplinary proceedings.

It is important to review your contract of employment as the right to suspend you is normally set out in your contract of employment or staff handbook. It is usually the case that you will be suspended on full pay, unless your contract of employment says otherwise.

In cases where there is no right to suspend in your contract of employment, you can still be suspended and in doing so act reasonably where there is a sufficiently serious reason and you suffer no detriment (this is where  you continue to receive full pay and other benefits).

Your employer will be in the right if there was a reasonable and proper cause to suspend you in the first place

How long should my suspension be for?

The ACAS code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures states that suspension should be:

  • as brief as possible;
    • kept under review;
    • not be used as a disciplinary sanction

Employers are always advised to keep suspension for the shortest period whilst the investigation takes place, and to provide updates as to how long the suspension is likely to last.

You may have a claim of constructive dismissal where your employer has suspended you without any reasonable grounds to do so, or where it takes an unreasonable amount of time to carry out an investigation (without explanation). This could amount to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence.

Can I challenge the decision to suspend me?

You can challenge a decision to suspend you through submitting a grievance in order to seek clarification as to why you have been suspended. This will trigger your employer’s grievance procedure to determine whether or not the circumstances of the case justify your suspension from work. There is no guarantee that the lodging of your grievance will lift your suspension if there are reasonable grounds to suspend you.

It is possible in certain cases, to apply for an injunction preventing your employer from suspending you. This approach is very expensive.

Can my employer inform work colleagues about my suspension?

Yes, your employer can but they should air on the side of caution because your employer owes you a duty of trust and confidence. Your employer must also comply with GDPR rules.

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