New way for members to get legal help

law and justice concept, antique golden scale in front of a row of law books in studio

During the COVID-19 crisis, UNISON has changed its processes to make it easier for members to get legal support at no extra cost, as part of their union membership. Here’s a simple guide for branches to help our members get the support they need, when they need it.

Employment advice
Members with issues relating directly to their work should still go direct to their branch, but to speed things up, we have adapted the case form to make it more streamlined.

COVID-19 and PPE issues
If members have any concerns about PPE in their workplace, these should also be raised directly with their branch who are best placed to negotiate with the employer and support their members.

Non-employment legal advice
UNISON has set up a new direct phone number to our legal services provider Thompsons to make it quick and easy to access our wider range of legal services. The UNISON line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0808 252 2783.

When calling this number members should have their UNISON membership number to hand. Members can use this number to get access to:

Personal injury advice
Members seeking legal advice following any type of work accident or injury or where they have suffered an industrial disease can call this number for legal support.

This may include members who believe they are suffering from COVID-19 as a result of their work, or members’ families in the tragic circumstances where they believe the member has died due to contracting COVID-19 as a result of their work.

Even in these challenging times employers still have a duty to do all that is reasonably practicable to safeguard their employees thereby reducing the risk of injury/infection.

Our frontline members are often working in very high risk situations, and employers should be regularly assessing those risks and acting accordingly — providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) with proper guidance and training for use.

Members may be able to make a personal injury claim if it can be shown that their employers have failed to take reasonable steps to protect them and this caused their injury.

Members and their families looking for legal advice following a non-work-related accident or injury should also call 0808 252 2783.

The exception is where members want advice on work-related stress. Here branches should still follow the stress protocol and complete the stress form listed in the resources section here.

The form can then be sent to the usual address listed or can now be scanned and emailed to

Other legal advice
The new number 0808 252 2783 should also be used for:

  • UNISON’s initial free legal advice scheme – on any non work-related matter
  • our criminal law assistance scheme – where our members are defending work-related criminal allegations
  • the free initial online standard wills service for members
  • our clinical negligence scheme – covering initial advice.

UNISON’s legal assistance scheme is subject to terms and conditions. For further information on the scope of that scheme and eligibility see our Legal Services Guide.