Virtual Lawyer Legal Letter Writer – Terms of Use 2021

Thank you for your interest in our Virtual Lawyer legal letter writing service. Here is some important information about this service, including our terms of use.

Scope of the £60 Virtual Lawyer legal letter writing service

[1] Using our Virtual Lawyer platform, we will create a bespoke grievance letter or ‘without prejudice’ letter asking for a settlement amount, on your behalf, for you to send to your employer. 

This letter will be written as coming from you, not from Monaco Solicitors. 

 

[2] We will create a bespoke letter template for you, you will input your case details in draft up to 70 words per bullet point with up to 3 bullet points per paragraph, and we will review and edit this draft for you.

 

[3] Monaco Solicitors commits to create and return your letter to you within 3 full working days (Monday to Friday) of receipt of the information necessary to complete the final document (not the day we received your payment/instruction if that was earlier).  

If we require any additional information from you regarding your case, we will ask you for this information within the initial 3 days. We will then complete and return your letter within 3 working days of receiving the additional information from you.

For example: If you send us your instruction and all necessary information about your case on a Thursday, we will return your completed letter on (or before) the following Wednesday.

 

[4] You email the letter to your employer. 

Please note, Monaco Solicitors will not email your letter for you or on your behalf. As the service does not include legal advice, Monaco Solicitors is not responsible for any implications arising from sending the letter.

You have been provided with, and there is further information on our website giving details of the potential implications of sending grievance/without prejudice letters, which you must read carefully before sending your letter.  Our relevant website guides are as follows:

 

If you are unsure about this or any other aspect of the Virtual Lawyer legal letter writing service, you are urged to take legal advice.

 

[5]  If at any stage your employer makes you a settlement offer, we will be able to sign your settlement documentation for you.  We may also be able to provide further legal assistance and/or represent you in negotiations. In some circumstances, we may also be able to negotiate a better deal for you. See below for further details.

 

Who is the Virtual Lawyer legal letter writing service for?

This service is for employees who have:

  • a grievance and would like to raise it with their employer, but who would like to stay in their job.
  • recently left or who want to leave their job and who would like to negotiate a fair exit package (‘settlement agreement’) with their employer.

 

It will mainly apply to people who feel that they have been badly treated at work. You don’t need to know whether you have a legally strong case, and you don’t need to be able to win an employment tribunal claim either. But you do have to make sure you have at least an arguable case, check Virtual Lawyer for help with that.

Benefits of sending a Virtual Lawyer letter

Your letter will have a greater impact on your employer than if you wrote to them without our help for three main reasons: 

  1. Your employer may realise you are being assisted by lawyers, so you will be much more likely to obtain a resolution to your grievance or a fair settlement deal. 
  2. Your letter is more likely to cover the main parts of your grievance/claim than if you wrote it without our help. 
  3. You may be able to use some of the letter content in related matters, e.g. an employment tribunal claim. 

What happens if my employer makes a settlement offer?

At the successful conclusion of a negotiation, both sides may agree to sign a ‘settlement agreement’ document, which would set out the terms of the settlement – essentially you sign away your right to sue the employer, and the employer agrees to pay you a sum of money in return.

Normally the employer drafts the settlement agreement document itself, and it can often be quite a lengthy document.

If you do receive a settlement agreement document at any point, then you should contact us and we will arrange an appointment with our lawyers to onboard you as a client of Monaco Solicitors.

Once you are on board as a client, the lawyer looking after your case will go through the settlement agreement document with you. There is always a legal fee for that, but your lawyer will invoice the employer directly, meaning there is no extra cost for you.

We would then go through the settlement agreement in detail with you, and we would countersign it to confirm that all of the legal wording in the document has been explained to you in plain English.

What happens if the case doesn’t settle?

Sometimes the employer does not offer an acceptable amount during or after the negotiation process.

To progress your matter further you could start an employment tribunal claim, but there would be absolutely no obligation on you to do that.

However, you may want to commence an employment tribunal claim before your negotiation has ended, in order to protect your position and bargaining power because of time limits (see below).

Status of the Virtual Lawyer Letter Writing Service

In the Virtual Lawyer letter writing service, the letter can and will only be created by us from information that you have provided about your case. 

The service does not constitute legal representation from Monaco Solicitors and does not include:

-Reviewing your case or any of your documents,

-Offering advice on the strength of your case.

-Advising you on Employment Tribunal time limits (see below)

-Speaking to you on the phone;

-Answering queries about your case (beyond what is programmed into our software)

-Assessing your evidence or telling you what evidence to gather

-Assessing the value of your case (beyond what is output by our online calculator)

-Advising you on your best course of action.

If you want us to provide any of the above services for you, please contact our team for further options. 

Employment tribunal time limits 

As stated above, it may not be necessary to go to an employment tribunal, as many cases settle by out-of-court negotiation. Some employers, however, will not settle unless a tribunal claim is issued.

You should be aware that tribunals treat time limits very strictly, and it is your responsibility to make sure that you submit a tribunal claim before your time limit expires, even if you are in the middle of a negotiation.

3 months, or more precisely, 3 months less a day, is the usual time limit for issuing employment tribunal claims. After the time limit expires you will usually not be permitted to bring employment tribunal proceedings. In a claim for unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal, the 3 months less a day will normally run from the day before your last day of employment.

For other claims such as discrimination, harassment or unpaid wages, then the 3 months less a day will normally run from the date of the alleged misconduct by the employer. There is more information on time limits available in a guide on our website here: https://www.monacosolicitors.co.uk/tribunals/time-limits/

Acas (The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service, but they always call themself ‘Acas’) is a government organisation that attempts to conciliate and arbitrate actual and potential claims.

The majority of tribunal claims must be submitted to Acas prior to being issued in order for Acas to formally ask the employer whether they wish to settle the claim or not. A period of Acas early conciliation then follows.

For the purpose of time limits, time is paused during early conciliation. This may affect the time limit for submitting a claim to the tribunal. Click here for the ACAS article on time limits. If you have any doubt about time limits, you should submit an Acas form here.

Meetings with your employer 

You may be asked to attend a meeting with your employer, for example, a grievance meeting, a disciplinary meeting, or an occupational health assessment.

You may be entitled to bring a colleague or a trade union rep. Often however this is stressful for our clients, and the stress can make you ill.

If that does happen then please consult your GP, as you may be signed off sick, in which case you may be able to arrange any such matters to be done by email, so you don’t have to attend a meeting.

Please also note that we do not need to meet your employer or you in person in order to negotiate a fair exit package for you as we conduct negotiations in writing and by telephone or zoom.

Personal Injury

When you enter into a settlement agreement with an employer you normally agree to give up all your employment rights, and that often includes warranting that you are not aware of any circumstances which might give rise to a personal injury (‘PI’) claim.

Personal injuries arising from mistreatment at work and often tend to be claims for psychological damage. They can be difficult to prove due to the need for evidence of ‘causation’, ie proving that the injury was caused by the employer’s conduct, rather than by an underlying condition.

PI claims are conducted in the County Courts rather than the employment tribunals, and they are often conducted by specialist law firms.

If you think that you might have a PI case because your health has suffered as a consequence of an accident at work or other reasons caused by your employer, you should take separate legal advice from a specialist law firm.

The Law Society can direct you to such a firm here https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

If you have a potential or actual personal injury case against your employer, but you still proceed to sign a settlement agreement, please be aware that your employer may try to settle your employment matter for an amount of money that only takes into account your employment situation, not your personal injury. You should, therefore, carefully consider whether that’s worth it to you or try to carve out the PI claim.

Applying for jobs 

If you have been dismissed or left your job, you should keep evidence of job applications, just in case this needs to be produced at tribunal later on. That’s because the tribunal will want to see evidence that you’ve tried to reduce the loss you’ve suffered.

Keep a record of each job applied for, application date, job title, response date and chase date.

You should also keep a folder of documentary evidence to support this, including copies of job applications, notes of phone calls, copies of chase up emails, job seekers logs, newspapers, emails and receipts for job search costs.

If you are still in employment now then be aware that your employer will be able to check your LinkedIn profile, so if you have updated your status to show that you are looking for other work, you may need to remove that update as your employer may seek to rely on that to suggest that you wanted to leave anyway.

Confidentiality

We take confidentiality very seriously and we will do everything we can to ensure that information regarding your matter is kept strictly confidential at all times.

At the completion of your matter we will dispose of your paper and electronic files unless you specifically arrange for these to be returned to you.

Tax and benefits advice 

We do not give accounting advice on tax or Social Security implications of any proposed settlement or potential court order.

If you require such advice, you should take it from your accountant.

Limitation of liability 

We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses, or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities.

We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows, in particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.

 

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