Office of the University Secretary

Performance standards for legal advisers

Function of the legal advisers

The function of the legal advisers is to provide advice and assistance to the University and its staff in relation to:

  • contracts by commenting on and negotiating terms of contracts supplied by third parties or drafting and supplying suitable legal documentation

  • data protection and freedom of information matters including advice on compliance and responding to request for access to data

  • advising the HR department on all aspects of employment law and disciplinary and grievance matters

  • the interpretation and implementation of statutory requirements

  • a variety of general legal matters affecting the University.

Service to be provided

In relation to contracts or other documents the legal advisers will supply an e-mail or memo setting out comments and suggested amendments to documents supplied by a third party. Alternatively the legal advisers will prepare and supply a draft document for use by the relevant staff member. The legal advisers will also provide a follow-up service dealing with any queries that the staff member may have on the advice given.

In relation to other legal queries the legal advisers will normally give preliminary advice on the telephone or by e-mail, to be followed by a meeting if appropriate. The legal advisers can assist in drafting legal correspondence or advise on how legal issues should be approached.

Timescales

a.

Timescales for dealing with documents

 

The legal advisers will normally respond with comments on contracts/documents or with advice on general matters within seven working days of receiving the relevant documents or query. If further information or documents are required before a response can be given the staff member will be notified as soon as possible of the additional information that is required and the legal advisers will endeavour to provide a full response within seven working days of receiving the outstanding information. If the legal advisers are unable to respond to any requests for assistance within this timescale the staff member will be notified and supplied with an estimate of when the legal advisers anticipate being in a position to respond.

b.

Timescales for responding to telephone and e-mail messages

 

The legal advisers will endeavour to respond to telephone and e-mail messages on the same day or by the end of the following available working day, consistent with the current working arrangements.

Availability of legal advisers

The legal advisers can be seen by appointment and subject to availability will endeavours to see all members of staff requesting meetings within seven working days. In exceptional circumstances, the legal advisers will see members of staff without an appointment but due to the demands on their time, this cannot be guaranteed. The legal advisers are unable to attend all meetings with third parties, such as industrial collaborators, but will do so if the circumstances require it. However they can advise on issues to be discussed at such meetings to assist staff members.

Dealing with the legal office

Any staff members requiring assistance from the legal advisers is asked to ensure that all relevant documentation is supplied to them in good time and that any relevant deadlines are clearly specified. In addition, the staff member should ensure that they have complied with University procedures by contacting the appropriate University office eg in respect of financial matters the Department of Finance.