The Law Society is investigating claims that trainee solicitors whose contracts are terminated are being made redundant unlawfully. David Taylor, a partner at London firm Hanne & Co, said the number of redundant trainees seeking advice has risen this year for the first time since 2008. Few if any are willing to lodge a claim for wrongful dismissal, but Taylor believes they should be granted the same rights as apprentices, whose contracts cannot be terminated except in exceptional circumstances. The issue came up at a recent meeting of the Law Society Membership Board, which Taylor chairs. Newly published minutes of the meeting show that the Law Society of Scotland has already begun investigating. The issue ‘would have major implications for firms in England and Wales as there was no provision in the SRA contract for termination on the ground of redundancy,’ the minutes say. Law Society president John Wotton is to raise the matter with his Scottish counterpart. Taylor told the Gazette: ‘You can understand from the employer’s point of view that they need to save money but in my opinion it’s not legitimate for them to terminate training contracts. It might require a test case but the problem is trainees don’t want to be known as a trouble-maker and most just want to keep their head down and qualify as soon as possible.’ Iain Mitchell QC, a senior counsel commissioned to look into the issue for the Scottish Young Lawyers Association, concluded that a trainee may not be made redundant as ‘a traineeship contract is an apprenticeship contract at common law’. He said: ‘A trainee may be prematurely dismissed only in the event of misconduct so grave and so repeated and persistent as to amount (in effect) to a repudiation by him of the training contract.’ The Law Society advises that trainees should always check their contract to ensure the firm has not breached any clauses in making them redundant. Where a genuine situation of redundancy has been identified, practices must make an application to the SRA for termination of the contract.
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THE Guyana Football Federation (GFF) announced last evening the ‘Golden Jaguars’, the country’s senior men’s national football team, will warm up for the CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers with an intensive “train and play” trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August.According to the GFF, encampment kick-starts a busy schedule of competition and training for the Golden Jaguars, following the appointment of former Jamaica international Michael Johnson as the team’s new head coach, whose immediate target will be to guide Guyana to its first appearance at a CONCACAF Gold Cup, in 2019.“One of the key development objectives of the GFF is to ensure that our national teams have the full calendar of playing and training time needed, in order to achieve the improved performances and results we all want to see,” said GFF Technical Director Ian Greenwood.Greenwood also related that “under the guidance of head coach Johnson, with longer encampments and a ‘train and play’ trip to Brazil, the Golden Jaguars will be in the best shape they have ever been, going into the CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers later this year.”Johnson, the highest qualified head coach in the history of the Golden Jaguars, is now working with the GFF Technical Department to prepare the national team for upcoming CONCACAF Nations League qualifier fixtures against Barbados, Turks & Caicos and French Guiana.Johnson arrived in Guyana today for discussions with the technical team, and to start putting his programme in place.The Golden Jaguars will be encamped in Guyana before each of the CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers, which coincide with FIFA international windows.The camps are scheduled to take place at the new GFF National Training Centre at Providence, with Guyana’s first, all-weather football pitch due to enter its final stage of construction shortly.The 2018 fixtures for the men’s national team include:September 8 – CONCACAF Nations League qualifier v Barbados (home)October 13 – CONCACAF Nations League qualifier v Turks & Caicos (away)November 20 – CONCACAF Nations League qualifier v French Guiana (away)The GFF plans to host six national training camps per calendar year – four during FIFA international windows and two further camps outside of those windows, with the possibility of encampment in the UK.