LAWYERS IN CHARITIES (‘LinC’) TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR USE OF
LinC WEBSITE, KNOW-HOW AND E-MAIL FORUM
1. The aims of LinC include providing knowledge and support for in-house lawyers working in registered charities and creating opportunities for such in-house lawyers to share knowledge and network. The ways in which LinC achieves its aims include making available precedents and other know-how, an email forum for its members and holding quarterly meetings.
2. Membership of LinC is open to lawyers working in registered charities. There is no limit on the number of individual lawyers from each charity who may join as members.
3. LinC does not exist to provide advice to its members. Each member of LinC is solely responsible for their use of LinC materials, however accessed. LinC exists to provide peer support only, through the sharing of knowledge and experience.
4. Use of LinC Know-How
4.1 In relation to any precedents or other know-how that are made available by LinC to members (‘Know-How’):
(a) such Know-How is intended as general guidance only and may not be a definitive or complete statement of the law, nor will it constitute legal advice for any specific situation;
(b) neither LinC, nor any other author or provider of Know-How can confirm whether the Know-How is sufficient or appropriate for particular circumstances and members should use Know-How critically as it may over time become incorrect or out of date;
(c) neither LinC, nor any other author or provider of Know-How, accept any responsibility for action taken as a result of Know-How made available by LinC or any others, and
(d) LinC is not a law firm and nothing it does shall be construed or relied on as advertising or providing legal services.
4.2 Limitation of Liability.
Except in relation to liability for death, personal injury or fraud, the liability of LinC, members of the LinC Committee and any provider of Know-How that is made available to members by LinC for direct or indirect loss arising out of the use of LinC Know-How or the use of the email forum or arising from a LinC members’ meeting, and whether based in contract, tort, strict liability or otherwise, is excluded in its entirety.
5. Provision of assistance by one LinC member to another
5.1 In relation to advice or guidance provided by one LinC member to another in the context of a specific factual situation, through the LinC email forum or others, individual LinC members are responsible for any assistance that they provide to other LinC members. LinC members need to consider their own professional obligations (in particular under Rule 4 of the SRA Practice Framework Rules), for two reasons:
(a) Regulation: Many individual members of LinC are solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. The SRA Handbook places some restrictions on solicitors who practice in-house. In particular, Practice Framework Rule 4.10 (‘Pro bono work’) provides that, while an in-house lawyer “…may, in the course of your practice, conduct work on a pro bono basis for a client other than your employer”, an in-house lawyer may only do so if the work is covered by indemnity insurance and ‘reserved legal activities’ (eg the conduct of litigation) are excluded.
(b) Duty of care: Members of LinC must be careful not to establish a duty of care between their respective organisations or respective individuals. This is to ensure that were a member of LinC to give information to another LinC member which caused the receiving LinC member or his/her charity to suffer a loss, that charity is not able to bring a claim for negligence.
5.2 In line with these regulatory obligations, LinC members may use the email forum to exchange knowledge and provide details of relevant experience, but must not give advice through the email forum. The distinction between sharing knowledge and providing advice is not always clear-cut and members are required to exercise reasonable judgement, take a common sense approach and err on the side of caution when in doubt. Members should take the same approach when participating in members’ meetings. Discussions always take place under ‘Chatham House Rules’.
5.3 Each LinC member acknowledges that they will not rely on assistance or guidance provided by another LinC member as legal advice, including when provided through the email forum or any other means facilitated by LinC.
5.4 Whilst the regulatory framework referred to above applies only to solicitors, for consistency these provisions apply to all LinC members regardless of particular legal qualification or background (in addition to any other relevant regulatory requirements).
Date: June 2016