HE Shared Legal is a national shared legal service for the UK higher education sector.
HE Shared Legal provides ad hoc legal guidance to subscriber institutions in relation to individual enquiries. In addition, we circulate generic guidance in the form of a regular newsletter highlighting legal developments of relevance to the sector. We are also in a position to provide assistance with law firm selection, engagement, instruction and monitoring..
Frequently asked questions
What is HE Shared Legal?
HE Shared Legal is a shared, non-profit-making, legal guidance and support service for HE institutions throughout the UK.
What does HE Shared Legal do?
There are three main elements to our work:
- Shared, "in-house" legal service – providing guidance and support with (ie generally, answering) specific legal enquiries in the manner of an in-house lawyer
- Generic guidance – publication of regular newsletters, detailed guidance notes and FAQs on a wide range of legal topics of relevance to HEIs
- Adviser selection and support – assistance and support with the selection, engagement and instruction of external legal advisers
What is the significance of the ‘in-house’ aspect?
As far as possible, HE Shared Legal works with institution representatives on a friendly, informal basis, as if the HE Shared Legal lawyer was physically embedded within the institution concerned. We also endeavour to establish a strong working relationship with the relevant HEI managers and a sound understanding of the institution and its approach to governance, risk management, etc.
What areas of law are covered?
The service deals with nine broad areas of law, as follows:
- Commercial Agreements
- Banking and Financial Services
- Corporate and governance
- Tax, insurance and pensions
- Intellectual Property and IT
Are there any other aspects to the work of HE Shared Legal?
In addition to the three main elements described above, the service also offers the following:
- Preliminary transaction and case planning
- Trouble shooting
- The conduct of joint projects
- The development of standard procedures and documents
What are the limits to the HE Shared Legal service, ie what does HE Shared Legal not do?
The service has no mandate to deal with the following:
- Provide professional legal advice, with the benefit of legal liability (as opposed to informal, legal ‘guidance’ and ‘support’)
- Represent institutions in relation to dealings with third parties
- Conduct cases or transactions, although preliminary case/transaction planning is provided
Where support of this nature is required, HE Shared Legal will be happy to assist with the selection and engagement, on competitive terms, of suitable specialist legal advisers.
Who are the typical users of the service?
The service may be used by any nominated representative within a subscriber institution. Typically, the users of the service will be senior managers from one or more of the following disciplines:
When did the service start?
The service opened for business on 1 May 2012.
How many institutions have joined the service?
There are currently nineteen subscriber institutions, located in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
How is HE Shared Legal funded?
Having been funded initially by HEFCE grant, the service is now financed by subscription fees from subscriber institutions on a fully self-sustaining basis.
How much is the subscription?
The current subscription fee is £8,800, exclusive of VAT, covering the period of twelve months from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017. There are no additional usage or other charges.
How is the service staffed?
There are five members of staff, all of whom are to a varying extent part-time – four lawyers (each qualified in Scotland as a solicitor, one also qualified in England and Wales, and one also in Greece) and an administrator (who is also trained as an employment law paralegal). All four lawyers have a predominantly commercial background, which is suited to the ‘business to business’ character and ‘employer-side’ role of much of their work.
What legal form does the service take?
HE Shared Legal Limited is a company limited by guarantee, which assumed responsibility for the operation of the service with effect from 1 May 2015, in succession to the University of Strathclyde. The company is planning in the longer term to convert the service from a subscription basis to a full VAT cost sharing group.
What are the governance arrangements?
HE Shared Legal Limited is governed by a board of five directors, of whom four are non-executive and represent the subscriber institutions as a body. The service is managed by its Principal Lawyer, who acts as the managing director of the company.
Finally, what are the main benefits of the service?
The principal benefits of a subscription to HE Shared Legal are as follows:
- Ready access to experienced legal resources at low cost
- Potential to achieve substantial savings on external legal fees
- Assistance with development of good practice and assurance
- Access to sector-wide intelligence and contacts on legal issues
- Part of the HEI 'corporate armoury'
For further information, please contact HE Shared Legal on 0141 237 5880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.