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Fee Recovery Service

How the MU can help when you haven’t been paid properly for your work

Not receiving the payment you were expecting – and have often been counting on – is a stressful scenario that can leave you feeling powerless.

However, the MU is here to help in following-up and making sure that you recover any lost fees. From advice on how to approach the other party and have that initial discussion, all the way through to taking the claim to court if necessary.

Your Regional Office is your first point of call for legal concerns. They’re easy to contact through phone and email, and will be able to advise you on the next possible steps to take.

Using the MU’s fee recovery service

Lost fees can happen for all kinds of reasons.

Maybe your gig has been cancelled last minute, or you’ve completed your part in a recording project only to be rewarded with significantly less money than you expected. You could be working for a private music service that’s fallen behind with your regular payments, or you were hired for a big workshop that unexpectedly ended up not happening.

Any and every payment issue relating to your career as a musician can be followed up with the MU’s fee recovery service.

This won’t always result in a legal dispute, or even your Regional Office stepping in on your behalf. You might simply need advice on how best to proceed.

Depending on the details of your particular case, the process of recovering your fees may involve – your Regional Office negotiating on your behalf, free legal assistance from Morrish Solicitors, or help in pursuing the issue through the small claims courts, including the reimbursement of court costs whether you win or lose.

The first step is getting in contact with your Regional Office.

How the fee recovery process works

In many cases, simply having a conversation with the other party about the issue can be enough to resolve things. Your Regional Office will offer you advice from the outset, giving you the tools to approach the dispute yourself where appropriate.

After you first contact your Regional Office, you will usually be required to fill out a short legal advice and assistance form (known as an LAAS request form), where you will need to answer a few brief questions on who you are and who you are claiming against.

You will also need to attach a written statement setting out exactly what happened, as well as the events and dates. And you’ll be asked to include any other supporting evidence that you have – including records of all relevant discussions, agreements and contracts where possible.

The next step will be your Regional Office raising the dispute with the other party on your behalf. This can take different forms depending on your particular case, but will often result in an official letter being sent from the MU to the other party, giving them fourteen days to respond.

After this, the MU will either enter into negotiations with the other party on your behalf – or if necessary and where the case meets all the correct legal criteria, pass the case on to Morrish Solicitors, who will work with you at no added cost.

If the case is passed on, Morrish Solicitors will try to resolve the issue through discussion with the other party. If this does not result in a solution, they will advise you on where to next take your claim, and may help you to prepare and pursue it through the small claims court.

Giving yourself a fighting chance

There are a number of specific legal requirements, for members in England & Wales, and members in Scotland & Northern Ireland, that must be met so that the MU is able to take further legal action. But the best way to protect yourself in any employment situation is to make sure that you always have it in writing.

Although all kinds of evidence can be used to prove that you had a pre-existing agreement – from verbal conversations, to emails and whatsapp chats – a properly prepared and completed contract will give you the best chance of making a successful claim should any issue arise.

MU members have access to a number of different contracts, and can contact their Regional Office for free advice on using these and other contracts correctly.

Find out more about contracts and the MU Contract Advisory Service.