The PFEW provides representation, in the form of legal assistance, to its members. The PFEW Claims department is responsible for processing and dealing with all criminal, misconduct, employment and civil applications for legal assistance that comply with the PFEW Fund Rules (which form part of our overall Federation Rules).
Claims are submitted to PFEW via local Federation Branch Boards and the large majority of employment claims are dealt with by our in-house legal team. The Claims department processes in the region of 6,000 cases a year including dealing with the ongoing criminal trials, misconduct investigations and hearings, employment matters, civil actions, inquests, judicial reviews and any IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) investigations that include death after police contact.
What is the PFEW application for legal assistance funding process?
Legal advice and representation to which we provide legal provision for our members is outlined in our Fund Rules and complies with the requirements of our funding criteria. Each case requirement differs but support is offered to those whose applications meet the standards of the funding criteria, in accordance with our Fund Rules.
Applications for legal assistance are considered carefully by the Federation and, where approved, are passed onto either internal or external lawyers who are instructed to consider the merits of any case before a decision is made for any further legal advice and representation at any proceedings that may be required.
In the majority of our claims, the following process applies:
1. A member will initiate the claim by making contact with their local Federation office and/or Federation Representative.
2. An assessment by the local Federation will be carried out to ascertain if the claim fits within the PFEW Fund Rules and funding criteria.
3. Once a positive assessment has been carried out by the local Federation office they will assist the member to collate the documentation needed to support the application and will assist the member to complete a funding application form for legal assistance - for personal injury claims we recommend you call our claimline on 0800 9171 999 in the first instance though form C1 (below) can also be used. Form C2 (also below) should be used in relation to any other claims.
4. The local Federation office then submits the claim direct to their Branch Board (BB) General Secretary to validate whether the member is a “subscribing member of the voluntary fund” ie. a member who pays subscriptions to the PFEW. The BB General Secretary then assesses whether the claim complies with the requirements of the PFEW funding criteria. This funding application is then forwarded to the PFEW Claims department at Federation HQ in Leatherhead, for assessment and processing.
5. Once Federation HQ receives the claim a further funding assessment is carried out in respect of the criteria and Fund Rules.
6. Should funding be approved, solicitors are instructed.
7. Throughout the life of the claim the PFEW Claims department coordinates the claim correspondence with all stakeholders on the claim to include local Federation office. The local Federation office updates the acting Federation Representative and the member.
8. There can be exceptions to this process, if for example an injunction is required and time is of the essence. However the same decision-making process applies in terms of deciding whether or not to fund legal assistance.
9. Throughout the life of a claim, the funding of legal assistance will be kept under regular and ongoing review by the relevant personnel to assess whether the discretionary funding criteria continue to be satisfied.
10. The Federation has absolute discretion as to whether or not to fund legal advice and representation in relation to any matter.
Below are the relevant Claims forms and documents relating to legal claims:
Application form for legal assistance for civil matters - C1
Application form for legal assistance for criminal and discipline matters - C2
Health and safety information sheet