When you are accused of breaching something
This is a checklist of the things that you should think about when you are accused of a breach of any legal requirement:
- Don’t panic. It won’t help. All you can do is do your job.
- Be sceptical. Just because someone claims your organisation is in the wrong, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily the case.
- Check the facts. Are they really as claimed by the other party?
- Be analytical. There is a set of claimed facts, but does that logically mean that there is likely to be some breach of duty.
- Gather together all relevant legal documentation, copy leases, copy correspondence, and records of works to the property, and pick out what appear to be the relevant bits.
- Get some input from people who may know what the real facts are, including employees and former employees, or trustees and former trustees.
- Do some homework on the legal basis of the alleged wrongdoing. There are some good basic facilities online.
- Look for legal expenses insurance in your organisation’s policies and consider if it’s covered. If it seems it might be, contact your broker or the insurer.
- Communicate with the other party to find out how serious and aggressive they are and what they are looking for. Show concern at what appears to be their perceived problem, but take the line that you are checking the position from your end and seeing what you have to do.
- Consider an appropriate strategy for dealing with the problem, even if you have insurance and are going to seek advice.
- If it does not look as though you can deal with with in a swift, satisfactory risk-averse and cost-effective manner, consider whether you should take legal advice as to the next steps that you should take.