Legal services

ASLEF members can receive advice, support and representation on the whole range of legal issues that they may encounter in their day-to-day lives.

These include personal injury, employment rights (including equal rights, human rights and pensions), criminal law, family law, wills and conveyancing. Members dependants may also be entitled to advice, support or representation, contact Thompsons for more information about entitlement.

Thompsons regional office structure means that you will be seen as near as possible to your place of work or local union office.

Our commitment is to total access to Thompsons for our members. Technology is key to this and Thompsons has developed information technology systems that enable ASLEF members to quickly and easily obtain any information relating to their case. You can also visit the Thompsons' website which includes fact sheets from the free legal advice department.

You may be entitled to free legal advice. Call free on 0808 100 8009 in England and Wales and 0800 081 0075 in Scotland between 8am to 8pm to find out more.


A total package of benefits

The legal services provided to ASLEF members include:

  • Work-related accidents and diseases
  • Non work-related accidents and diseases
  • Employment disputes
  • Family law
  • Benefits and consumer advice
  • Criminal law
  • Property and conveyancing
  • Wills

There are many other legal and non-legal issues that you may need advice and representation on which our legal service can provide.

Where employment disputes arise including discipline cases, allegations of harassment etc, contact your Branch Secretary as direct representation by ASLEF officials will often be more appropriate in such cases. Your ASLEF official will notify you if legal advice and representation is required.

Work related accidents and diseases

ASLEF members regularly risk injury, their health and even their lives in the course of their duty.

Our free personal injury service means that you will have access to immediate advice and representation in seeking compensation for your injuries or for the suffering caused through a disease contracted through your work. If you've suffered injury, even mental injury as a result of trespass on the railway, such as suicide, you can be assisted with a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, normally with our in-house Legal Department.

Thompsons is the biggest and most experienced personal injury law firm in the UK and your case will be handled by highly experienced lawyers.

If you are injured at work and fault or breach of legal duty can be proven you will be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering caused and for loss of earnings.

Fault can be proven in a number of ways. For example:

  • Defective equipment
  • Inadequate safety precautions
  • Insufficient training or instructions
  • Operational system failures
  • Unsafe working practices

These are only a few examples. There are many others and even if you doubt whether the employer, infrastructure controller or anyone else was at fault you should still contact your branch in the first instance.

By way of illustration:

  • Members injured at work may have a claim against the Railtrack or LUL where the cause of the incident was the track controller's negligence, or one of their workers was at fault
  • In road traffic cases, there may be a claim against the insurers of the driver responsible for the RTA.
  • Where mental injury is sustained following a fatality on the track 

There are time limits so delays should be avoided.

For claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority the limit is 2 years. For other injury claims it can be 3 years (but diseases like asbestosis can often be longer). But for related employment cases like for disability or discrimination it can be as little as 3 months.

Where you are unable to return to work, the level of compensation that you will be entitled to will be calculated based upon the salary that you would have been paid until retirement and a claim can be made for a lost or reduced pension.

The families of ASLEF members can also use the service to seek compensation where a member is killed in the course of duty or dies due to industrial disease. For work related injuries you should ask your Branch Secretary for the appropriate form.


Non-fatal accidents:

Make sure that any accidents are recorded in the accidents book in the workplace.

Members can find the contact number for Thompsons in the ASLEF diary or on the Thompsons website. Members should contact them direct as ASLEF cannot make referrals on behalf of members.

Non work related accidents and diseases

Members and their dependents who are the victim of an injury or disease outside work can also take advantage of the free legal advice service. A member may be injured whilst playing sport, as a result of a defective product, whilst shopping or on property belonging to someone else. e.g:

  • A member falls on a spillage in a supermarket
  • A daughter at college trips in the street

People who are injured in this way are often unsure about what rights they have to claim compensation, and from whom. Our legal services mean you never need to feel alone in these circumstances Thompsons will be able to advise and represent you.

ASLEF legal services offers legal cover for members injured travelling to and from work.

Remember, ASLEF members' dependant children, husbands, wives, partners and parents can also use the free legal service if they suffer a non-work related accident.

As with all personal injury cases, time is of the essence. You should call the advice line as soon as possible after the accident in order to maximise the chances of winning compensation.

Property and conveyancing

ASLEF legal services do not just cover injury and employment matters.

Thompsons conveyancing and property lawyers are able to provide ASLEF members a first class service at a highly competitive rate. 

There is complete financial transparency in that members will be notified in advance of the applicable charge.

Free wills

Everyone should make a will, and ASLEF recommends that you take advantage of our free wills service. If you do not make a will there is a danger that those people you would have wanted to look after your affairs and to benefit from your estate will not do so.

While no one likes to think about death, making a will should at least ensure that there are no legal complications for your loved-ones to have to deal with should you die suddenly.

Making a free will using Thompsons' specialist service could not be easier. You can apply online. A lawyer may need to interview you if your estate or instructions are complex.

Members' single and joint wills are free and the service also covers ASLEF members' families at the extremely competitive cost.

Probate, trust and executry can also be arranged through ASLEF approved lawyers at advantageous rates.

We wish to continue to encourage members to access the union’s legal services by calling free on 0808 100 8009 in England and Wales and 0800 081 0075in Scotland between 8am to 8pm to initiate any of the legal service benefits except employment matters.

More information

Thompsons also provide information booklets on various subjects to help give a better understanding of your rights and entitlement:

Thompsons Accidents at Work Booklet

Thompsons Family Friendly Rights Booklet

Thompsons Unfair Dismissal and Redundancy Booklet