Are you a member?
We can only help if you are a member of the union.  If you are, please contact the UCU Branch Administrator at ucusussex@sussex.ac.uk with a brief summary of your situation.  Please note that members are not eligible for legal help for events that happened before they were members or during the first 90 days of membership (unless they joined at the first available opportunity).
Members can also contact the UCU Regional Officers directly: Mike Moran. NB. Mike may refer you back to the Branch if he feels the issue would be more appropriately dealt with locally in the first instance.







Needing support or advice normally means something has either happened to you or something that should have happened has not. UCU provides advice, support and representation for UCU members to assist in remedying, where possible, such events. The following protocols are those adopted by Sussex UCU concerning the provision of such advice and support.


You must be an existing member of UCU to receive advice, support and representation. New members will not normally be offered full support and representation for issues that arose before or within 90 days of joining. This applies in particular to members who have joined as a result of a difficulty or problem at work, including members who have previously lapsed from membership and do not rejoin until they need assistance.


It is important that you maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality about your case, and do not discuss it widely. You are also asked not to discuss your case with another officer, rep or UCU committee member, as this could lead to a conflict of interest if other UCU members are involved.


UCU will for its part maintain strict confidentiality concerning your case at all times; this means a UCU officer/rep will only discuss aspects of the case with another UCU officer/rep as necessary (and without any names being mentioned) to meet the needs of the case. Should the officer/rep require additional support from either the Regional office or Head Office you will be informed of that fact.

If you do not want any details of your case to be shared, please state this clearly when asking for assistance.


The role of the UCU officer/rep is to provide you with advice, support and where agreed, representation. You should work with the named officer/rep at all times in respect of your issue.


You will be kept fully informed of the process and progress of the issue: no action will be taken on your behalf without your agreement.


You will be given contact information for your UCU officer/rep. It is important that you understand that officers/reps also have a ‘day’ job and therefore if you do not hear back immediately please be patient: the officer/rep will return your call/email.


Unless agreed with the officer/rep you should not expect to receive communications outside of the normal working day.


Should you have a problem with the advice or support you receive please contact the President or Secretary of the Branch.


You should endeavour to work closely with the nominated officer/rep, providing them with all relevant information when requested so that they are fully apprised of the issues.


In the event that you do not agree with the advice provided or the recommended course of action you should say so and explain why. You are not obliged to accept advice offered, but if you take actions which UCU believe are detrimental or harmful to you and or UCU we may refuse to continue to represent you. Similarly if you decide to use another organisation, or lawyer, UCU may withdraw support or representation.


UCU officers/reps are not acting in a personal capacity but as officers/reps of the union at all times. They have access to support and advice from both regional and national UCU which they will utilise if they believe it is necessary, whilst maintaining confidentiality.


Legal Assistance - A member has to comply with the rules and regulations governing the UCU legal scheme

University Policies
It may be useful to look through HUMAN RESOURCES policies page if you have a query or issue in relation to, eg, bullying, terms and conditions, maternity leave, disciplinary proceedings or any other procedure invoked by the university in relation to your work. 


UCU nationally runs its own Legal Fund.

The scheme covers employment rights, personal injury (including workplace stress), police enquiries and immigration employment advice.

It excludes defamation, representation by your own legal advisers, where your interests are in conflict with UCU's, and to bring legal action against UCU.

You must be a member of UCU whose subscriptions are up to date. Unless you joined UCU at the earliest opportunity you could, you must also have been a member for at least 90 days.

UCU will not meet legal costs it has not specifically authorised.

How to Apply

UCU has specific guidance on how members can apply for the Legal Fund.

Answers to some commonly asked questions are available here.

If you would like the Executive Committee to assist you in applying for the Legal Fund, please contact us.