Monday 8 June 2009
Action4Equality Scotland, closely connected with no-win, no-fee solicitor Stefan Cross, has been forced into publishing a full apology to UNISON member Mrs Jacqueline Quinn.
Two separate articles which criticised Mrs Quinn for taking her equal pay claim away from NWNF solicitor Mr Cross provoked anger and the call for an apology.
Mrs Quinn had been persuaded to use the solicitor by promises of a quick result, but after months of waiting she decided to take advantage of free legal help available from the union. She was attacked on a website which also wrongly claimed that she was liable to pay a £500 bill.
In December 2008 the Court of Session ruled that Newcastle-based Mr Cross's contingency fee contract with Jacqueline Quinn was void and unenforceable in Scotland. The Court went on to ban Mr Cross from pursuing a bill for £500 from Mrs Quinn, a home care worker for Edinburgh Council.
UNISON Scottish Secretary Matt Smith, said:
"UNISON was pleased to help Jacqueline Quinn take a stand against Mr Cross and expose the flaws in his contract. She was not in breach of contract and it is only right that Action4Equality should apologise for the offence they have caused.
"The case has also highlighted the potential for thousands of other council and NHS workers in Scotland who have signed up to Contingency Fee Agreements to reclaim money deducted from their compensation."
The apology states:
"We now accept that Mrs Quinn was fully within her rights to challenge the Contingency Fee Agreement with Stefan Cross and acknowledge that on 16th December 2008 the Court granted an Order which declared that 'the pretended contract for the provision of legal services entered into between the Defenders and the Pursuer for the provision of legal services... is void and of no force or effect...' and that in the same Order the Court prohibited Stefan Cross from raising an action for payment against Mrs Quinn 'for sums due under (the) pretended contract' ".