Union Law Firm Gets Go Ahead

23 May 2014

First Ever Trade Union Owned Law Firm Wins SRA Licence

Almost a million trade union members to benefit from “first of its kind” one stop legal service

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) and GMB announced a “first of its kind” trade union legal firm. UNIONLINE will provide a comprehensive legal service to almost a million trade union members as the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) granted its licence on Thursday 22nd May 2014.

New law firm, Unionline, was formed as the two unions saw a significant opportunity where a deregulated legal profession allowed for new organisations to operate in the legal marketplace.

UNIONLINE, based in Sheffield, has been set up by the CWU and GMB as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) which will offer the full and comprehensive suite of legal services to the whole membership of the two unions. Unions have a long and proud history of providing top-class access to justice for their members.  The new rules allow GMB and CWU to bring that tradition right up to date.

A partnership of UNIONLINE approved solicitors firms will act for the many thousands of CWU and GMB members legal cases each year under the authority of the UNIONLINE monitoring board ensuring that CWU and GMB members retain access to legal redress.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: “Unionline is a unique opportunity for both the CWU and GMB to compete in a previously highly-regulated industry. We want to make sure our members get the very best legal advice and by creating and operating our own legal services we can ensure that.

This is the first legal service of its kind. With legal assistance being such an integral part of the benefits offered to trade union members this is a truly exciting innovation of which we are immensely proud.”

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said: “GMB is delighted that the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) has granted a licence to this highly innovative new law firm jointly owned by GMB and the Communication Workers Union to serve the needs of almost one million trade union members.

We look forward to providing a one-stop shop for members which will provide a comprehensive legal service, and unlike the High Street, there will not be deductions from their personal injury awards. We have significant plans for the future and look forward to giving trade union members a unique advantage in their choice of legal services.”