Legal Advice

UNISON provides a very wide range of legal help to union members across the UK.

We offer advice and assistance with work issues of course, but we can sometimes also offer legal help for members and their families outside work.

At work

We make a point of looking after our members

All UNISON members are entitled to free legal advice and assistance with work-related issues (provided they have been a member for at least four weeks before they knew they needed legal help and sought that help from UNISON. Subscription payments must be up to date.)

Employment problems

We will provide help to members who have difficulties at work.

If you want employment advice, first contact your branch. The branch may refer the matter to your regional office or to UNISON’s lawyers. In general, the advice or representation will be provided by the branch or regional office.

Employment tribunal cases will be handled by our lawyers. UNISON’s in-house lawyers prioritise matters which affect most members; other employment cases will be dealt with by our appointed solicitors Thompsons. UNISON will also pay your employment tribunal fees.


To date, UNISON has won more than £511 million in compensation for members involved in work-related personal injuries and for members and their family members over non work-related personal injuries.

This includes where our members have experienced assaults, industrial diseases and accidents at work, on the way to or from work, or on union business.

Work-related criminal cases

Contact UNISONdirect on 0845 355 0845 (Monday to Friday 6am-12 midnight, Saturday 9am-4pm) or contact your branch.

Outside those hours, in an emergency call the UNISON 24-hour criminal helpline free on 0800 587 7530.

Clinical negligence

We offer initial legal help for members and their families who have suffered clinical negligence. This involves a free initial assessment of the likely prospects of success from our lawyers.

Should the advice be to go ahead with a claim, UNISON is not able to fund the future costs of these cases, but our lawyers can advise on the best way to fund the claim.

For you and your family

We look after our members and their families outside of the workplace as well as in it.

A number of benefits and services are available to our members.

Free legal advice

Members are entitled to free initial legal advice directly from our lawyers on any matter that is not related to work.

This service entitles members to a 30-minute telephone interview or a letter containing advice.

Wills and conveyancing service

We provide a free wills service for members (and their partners if drawing up mirror wills).

In addition, UNISON has negotiated a low-cost wills service for members’ families and a low-cost conveyancing service for members and their families.


We can give advice to, or represent, members who have immigration problems that threaten their continued employment.

Access to legal services

UNISON only instructs specialist lawyers. Our lawyers work to agreed standards of service required by us and are audited and judged against those standards.

Contact us

For employment issues contact your local rep or branch. For all other services the simplest way to access most of our legal services is by calling UNISONdirect on:

0845 355 0845 (voice)
0800 0 967 968 (textphone)

Lines are open 6am to midnight from Monday to Friday and 9am to 4pm on Saturdays.

Criminal law

For criminal law assistance (where you are facing work-related criminal charges) in an emergency outside of UNISONdirect hours, call the UNISON 24-hour criminal helpline free on 0800 587 7530.