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					UNIVERSITY OF CUMBRIA LEGAL SERVICES Seeking Legal Advice and Assistance Guidance notes
The Secretariat Legal Services team aims to support staff in the operation of University of Cumbria (UoC) business by facilitating timely, professional and practical legal advice which will allow staff to deal with legal issues in an appropriately informed manner. In so doing, the Legal Services office works in close liaison with the external solicitors appointed by the University to provide comprehensive advice on all legal issues arising from the University’s business. In August 2007 the University appointed Martineau Johnson (MJ) as the official University solicitors. To maximise the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of our arrangements and to develop an effective working relationship with Martineau Johnson, the following guidelines have been prepared to assist staff seeking legal advice on University matters. 1. Contact with University Solicitors 1.1 Designated Contacts Only members of UoC staff identified as Designated Contacts may make the initial contact with Martineau Johnson on a new matter where advice is to be sought. The approved Designated Contacts and their authorised areas for contact are currently: Chris Carr (All issues) Peter Armer (Estates & Finance) Lesley Houfe (Human Resources) Kath Keigh (All issues) Neil Harris (All issues) Peter Nixon (UoC Subsidiary Companies) Gill Wilson (Human Resources) Sarah Anderson (All issues)

A contact list for these people is attached to these notes (see Appendix A). Whenever contact is initiated and a new matter raised with Martineau Johnson, Sarah Anderson, Secretariat Office (Legal Services) must be notified so that the matter can be logged and a reference number issued. 2. Process The following process is designed to enhance the effective function of the Legal Services team and provide timely and accurate responses to University of Cumbria staff. The team is aware however, of the constraints and delay that excessive bureaucracy can impose, and would hope to work as flexibly as possible with staff as occasions demand. 2.1 Initial enquiries Wherever possible, all initial enquiries on legal issues, however minor, should be made to Legal Services using the Briefing Paper pro forma (see Appendix B, attached). 2.2 Briefing Paper When a member of staff requires legal advice on any matter of University business a Briefing Paper should be forwarded to the Secretariat Officer (Legal Services) using the pro forma available from Secretariat (see Appendix B). This will assist in developing a sharp focus on the context of the matter and in providing clear and


relevant instructions to the University’s solicitors as necessary. On receipt of the Briefing Paper, the matter will be logged in Secretariat and a reference number issued, and consideration given to whether assistance from the University solicitors is required. If a matter is deemed suitable to be dealt with internally, without recourse to Martineau Johnson, the Secretariat Officer (Legal Services) will liaise directly with the member of staff concerned to take the matter forward. If, however, it is deemed necessary to instruct the University Solicitors, the initial briefing will be passed to Martineau Johnson by the Secretariat Officer (Legal Services). 2.3 Solicitors’ Contact Log Following logging, referencing and, if appropriate, despatch of initial instructions to Martineau Johnson, Designated Contacts may authorise other members of UoC staff to liaise directly with Martineau Johnson to facilitate progress of the matter in question. Any member of staff who liaises directly with a solicitor in relation to a University of Cumbria matter (including both Designated Contacts and authorised members of staff), is required to maintain a Contact Log detailing each occasion of contact with Martineau Johnson using the pro forma issued by Secretariat (see Appendix C). Completed contact logs should be submitted to the Secretariat Officer Legal Services), each month until the conclusion of the matter. It is important that the time spent on telephone conversations is noted on the form as Martineau Johnson charges are calculated in units of 6 minutes and noting the length of calls will help in both monitoring costs and increasing staff awareness of their role in controlling expenditure. Completed Contact Logs will be cross-checked against invoices received from MJ before invoices are authorised for payment. Secretariat staff will seek to clarify any discrepancies with Martineau Johnson and the UoC staff members concerned. 2.4 Closure/Completion At the conclusion of any matter (whether the University solicitors are involved or not), a Case Closure Form, issued by Secretariat should be completed and submitted to the Secretariat Officer (Legal Services) (see Appendix D). The Closure form will indicate the outcome of the matter and, together with the final Contact Log, will constitute “sign off” from solicitor involvement and the incursion of further legal costs. There is also provision on the form to indicate if time-limited matters (such as contracts, licences etc.) need review or renewal at a future date so that Secretariat systems can be noted accordingly. When the Closure Form is submitted, all papers relating to the matter should be attached, including:  Signed top copies of agreements, contracts, memoranda of cooperation etc.  Correspondence  Meeting notes  File notes  Any other relevant documentation These documents will then be retained and stored in Secretariat in accordance with the University’s Records Management and Data Protection policies. 2.5 Submission of papers The forms indicated for use in the process are included in the appendices to these guidelines and are also available on the Secretariat staff web pages. Any papers or forms sent to Secretariat under the above process should preferably be submitted electronically.


3. Costs 3.1 Budget support The costs of legal advice and work undertaken by Martineau Johnson that is commissioned through a UoC Designated Contact is currently supported from the Secretariat Legal Services Budget. However, although the costs of reacting to the unexpected will clearly always be met, it is hoped that in the future Services and Faculties will become able to build an estimated legal cost into project planning for new initiatives that can reasonably anticipate an input from the University’s solicitors. 3.2 Ensuring Value for Money UoC staff should be aware that Martineau Johnson solicitors operate a “running meter” for each and every occasion of contact with the University, which has a major impact on significantly escalating costs. Without compromising the quality of advice or a good working relationship with MJ, staff are therefore encouraged to keep all conversations, correspondence etc. as concise, succinct and relevant as possible to ensure good value for money. 4. General 4.1 Website These notes and the accompanying forms are available on the Secretariat pages of the University website. 4.2 Further information and Feedback For further information or queries regarding this process please contact: Kath Leigh, Head of Secretariat Sarah Anderson, Secretariat Officer (Legal Services) Extn. 4338 Extn. 8856

Legal Services Use of Solicitors Guidelines June 2008



Legal Issue identified

Briefing paper completed and submitted to Secretariat Officer (LS)

Issue logged and referenced by Secretariat

Advice provided by Secretariat


Is it necessary to instruct solicitors? (Secretariat Officer)


Has briefing paper been received?



Was the enquiry raised by a Designated Contact?

Solicitors instructed by Secretariat Officer

Contact Log to be initiated to record all contact with solicitors

University contact authorised for direct contact with solicitors

Issue concluded satisfactorily

Contact Log submitted monthly to Secretariat Officer for duration of the matter

Closure form completed and submitted to Secretariat with all related documentation File retained in Secretariat



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