LawWorks approached us with a matter on behalf of a client who
needed some advice in relation to a dispute he was having with a
private secondary school over unpaid school fees. After
enrolling the child at the school the client was informed that his
working hours and pay were to be significantly reduced. As a
result of this change in circumstances he and his wife reluctantly
took the decision to withdraw their son from the school on
relatively short notice prior to the start of the first school
term. Under the school's terms and conditions where a
full term's notice was not given the school was entitled to
request that a full terms' fees were paid in lieu of the notice
and that the school would give consideration to the financial
circumstances of the family. Discussions directly between the
client and the school were unsuccessful and the school sued the
client for the full amount of a term's fees.
Our role in the matter involved a number of different aspects
and was supported by a team of three lawyers. We were asked
to advise on the legal rights of the client in relation to the
school's terms and conditions. We then spoke to the
client to ascertain further background details and documents
including his correspondence with the school's solicitors.
We assisted the client with moving the court proceedings from
the local court for the school's solicitors to the client's
We entered into negotiations with the school's solicitors on
behalf of the client and through a series of letters and emails we
explained the background to the situation that had arisen and
sought settlement negotiations. The initial starting points
of the parties was one from which a settlement looked unlikely,
however, we were able to rationalise our client's position with
the school's solicitors while explaining the benefits and
potential cost savings to our client of making concessions and
offering a settlement. Over the course of the correspondence the
parties were able to come to a mutually acceptable settlement
figure and an interest free payment plan was drawn up.
Result for client
The final settlement resulted in the client paying just over a
third of the full term's fees. In addition to this all
court proceedings were set aside and no court fees were paid by the
client. Due to the nature of the settlement the client's
credit rating was unaffected. As a result of the financial
hardship the client suffered he was unable to pay the settlement in
a lump sum, therefore, a monthly repayment plan that spread the
sum, interest free, across a one year repayment period was agreed
between the parties.
Throughout we always focussed upon ensuring the client was fully
informed as to the progress of the matter and given realistic
expectations of the possible outcomes, which reduced the emotional
burden on the client as well as arranging an acceptable financial
settlement and payment plan.
Kemp Little's Pro Bono Involvement
Kemp Little has a strong tradition of providing pro bono work
(free legal work for not-for-profit organisations that have no
access to funding for legal advice) to various organisations, in a
range of specialisms such as commercial matters, technology and
services acquisitions, intellectual property, data protection,
employment and litigation.
We encourage all our lawyers to participate and all pro bono
matters are undertaken to the same high standard as work for our
We are a member of LawWorks and actively participate in their
"Initial Electronic Advice" scheme to provide quick and
user-friendly legal advice to pro bono clients. Our lawyers also
attend a legal clinic at the Islington Law Centre to advise
individuals on a variety of housing, employment or other legal
issues they face.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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