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Hello. I was an employee who was made redundant by my employer. I represented myself at an employment tribunal, who found in my favour on all counts. They judged that it had been unfair dismissal and sex discrimination and made an award of around £10,000 although I don’t expect any of it will be paid.

At the start of the hearing my employer’s solicitor tried to wriggle, suggesting to the judge that they were not a legal entity. The business is run by a managing committee of volunteers (an unincorporated association) and is also a registered charity (registered with the charities commission). However, don’t let that draw sympathy, the hearing revealed how badly the charity was being managed and how the charitable funds were being wasted. The judge said that they are a registered charity and therefore a legal entity.

So although they may wish to describe themselves as an unincorporated association, they did enter into employment contracts with me and other staff in the name of the charity and have assets in the name of the charity.

Question

So with the status of the respondent being a registered charity (claiming to be an unincorporated association), who should I address the high court enforcement order to? The managing committee will all be stepping down from their positions and running for cover. Should I put the name and address of the charity, or the present chair of the managing committee, or the then chair of the managing committee at the time of the redundancy, or the managing committee secretary who signed the paper work, or all the managing committee members by name?

I’m not expecting to see any money paid to me but I don’t want to make it easy for them to wriggle of the hook and continue operating either. Thank you so much for taking a look at my thread. x

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Hello Alicia, welcome to CAG.

 

I'm going to merge your threads into the General Legal forum, where I expect the guys will be along to advise you later. Having duplicate threads generally leads to confusion, so better to have all the information together. :)

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi

I have moved your thread to the bailiff forum as although it is usually for people being chased by bailiffs there are also some excellent minds to assist in enforcing a judgement

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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Around 3 or 4 years ago the Government introduced regulations whereby anyone who has won an Employment Tribunal Award can have their award "fast tracked" to a High Court Enforcement Officer" to enforce. There is a fee of £60 that you will be required to pay.

 

Regarding the confusion surrounding the legal basis of the defendant, this will be addressed by the relevant firm of High Court Officers that you choose. They have access to "tracing" facilities.

 

Hopefully, somebody will be along shortly to provide some more assistance.

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Unfortunately we cannot recommend a particular company to use so that has to your own choice. It would certainly pay you to talk to some different ones first before making any decision. Any good firm of HCEO's should be able to answer any queries you have and a timescale in which this may be done.

 

Two things to note is that should the Enforcement Officer be successful in obtaining payment then you will not receive it immediately. The second note to remember is that although you have Judgment there is no guarantee it will be paid.

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Hello Alicia86,

 

well congrats on a successful claim.

 

I'm not a legal person at all - but I have spent some time knocking around the charity sector.

 

An unincorporated association is a coming together of a number of individual members for a common purpose - a toddler group, a sports club - that sort of thing. They may have a constitution and hold meetings of course; but an unincorporated association has no legal existence - it is not recognised in law.

 

Although they would not have had to seek the approval of any regulatory body before the association was set up - if the association's income is regularly over £5k per annum, then I believe they are required to register with the Charity Commission. I'm not sure that then makes them a legal entity (as per the judge's opinion at your hearing)? (It would be interesting to have a contributor with a legal background clarify that point please?)

 

As an unincorporated association, it's members are meant to be personally responsible for the group's obligations and debts - including this judgement of yours. They could appeal this ET decision of course.

 

I'm sure it might be worthwhile seeking guidance from the high court officers at this stage; but it may well be that you should name all those on the management committee. If they dissolve the association and run for cover it still does not absolve them of their erstwhile responsibilities while the association was still operating.

 

Hope that helps.

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There was a legal entity at the other end of the employment contract AND it is a registered charity. I would go for their bank account if they do not pay within the Tribunal's deadline/procedure.

Affleck v Newcastle Mind [1999] ICR 852, [1999] IRLR 405, EAT. looks to be a reference case.

http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/1999/537_98_1003.html

Edited by lamma
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There was a legal entity at the other end of the employment contract AND it is a registered charity. I would go for their bank account if they do not pay within the Tribunal's deadline/procedure.

Affleck v Newcastle Mind [1999] ICR 852, [1999] IRLR 405, EAT. looks to be a reference case.

http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/1999/537_98_1003.html

 

Thanks lamma, that reference made interesting reading. To be clear though - an unincorporated association may be considered a 'legal structure' but it is not a legal entity - it is not recognised in law. It would seem that simply registering with the Charity Commission does not automatically incorporate a voluntary organisation.

 

Reading the EAT decision of the Newcastle Mind case, it would seem that they were a charitable trust - i.e. the management committee/trustees did not own the assets. Also the responsibility for any contracts of employment sat with the management committee - not the charitable trust. As such that committee would have had no protection of limited liability and as such were personally liable, it would seem.

 

Likewise, in this case, the liability would appear to sit with the management/executive committee, whether they were managing a charitable trust or not, they are personally liable for this debt. How that liability is borne between them is another matter.

 

On reflection, in response to Alicia86's query (as to who to name on any high court order), I suppose the most straightforward answer might be to list the respondents in the case.

 

It would be insightful to find out whether individual members of the committee were listed as respondents or they simply used the name of the unincorporated association itself?

 

Furthermore I believe Tribunals do not usually set deadlines for payment. They tend to use the more flexible term 'forthwith' rather than set a specific date/time.

 

I hope that stacks up OK - though any further help/clarity on this would be most useful; this site is pretty cool isn't it? - we can try to help others and learn more ourselves. :-)

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Thank you Lamma. The charity produced bank statements and crude balance sheets at the hearing to paint a picture of being in financial difficulties. However, the judge spotted that they had more than one bank account, one was paying the other and some or the items on the balance sheets were falsified. So from what I gather, the charity are trying to hide any moneys that they have, and hide bank accounts. Do you think I will need to investigate this before handing it over to the HCEO or is this something the HCEO looks into?

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Thank you Lamma. I gathered from that, that the respondent (the charity in name) in my case is the legal entity to be held account, and specifically that includes each individual identified as a member of the managing committee (the trustees) on the date that I was made redundant.

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Good luck Alicia86,

 

lamma's reference to the Newcastle Mind case throws some light on the difficulties that can be thrown up around one particular point. Useful.

 

You have done the hard part though, I'm sure we all wish you the best with recovering what is owed.

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My reading of the Newcastle Mind case is that the executive committee are the one's responsible for this debt - not the charitable trust (assuming there was one). Therefore it may be the total assets of the committee members that may be the issue here, not those of the trust?

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We have enforced against registered charities on several occasions.

 

The laws around High Court Enforcement were specifically modified recently to allow them a 'fast track' process to assist those that win their employment tribunals.

 

If you decide to use an HCEO the writ will cost you a mere £60 (recoverable from the debtor) and unlike normal judgments there will be no abortive fee (usually £60 plus VAT).

 

The HCEO is clearly your first port of call. If you Google "employment tribunal hceo" you'll no doubt find more information.

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the "committee" is liable for the debts and this means personally if they want to try and hide the charity money. The names and addresses of the members should be available and you chase those who are in the current positions or if no replacemnt for those that have resigned then you chase them as they are still liable.

When you have your compensation report them to the Charities Commission.

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