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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48171
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I left an employer in November last year and in January

Customer Question

Good morning,
I left an employer in November last year and in January received a notice of overpayment from them along with my P45 and December Payslip.
I was not aware I had been overpaid and as a student spent the money in good faith on an accommodation deposit for the next academic year. The employer believes they have every right to reclaim their money even though it was not my mistake, I changed my circumstances in good faith and above all else never received a new contract when being accepted on a permanent basis after being a Christmas Temp. Nowhere in that temporary contract does it state that any debts owed after termination of my employment will become civil debt, therefore can they rightly claim this money and get a civil recovery process underway?
Thank you,
Andy
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long had you worked there for?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I started as a Christmas Temp on 2nd November 2013 which ended on the 4th January 2014, and from that date I was accepted on a permanent basis until the 28th November 2015.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Ben, best of luck in court and I look forward to your response!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. I will get back to you later today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query.

If someone has genuinely been overpaid by their employer, then that is not money to which they are legally entitled and it should be repaid. It is not necessary for the contract to state that this becomes a civil debt – this follows automatically.

However, an employee may be able to use the legal defence of ‘estoppel’ to resist an employer's recovery of an overpayment. One of the main cases dealing with this is that of County Council of Avon v Howlett. The employee was a teacher who was paid more sick pay than he was entitled to. The teacher queried the overpayments with the employer but was assured they were correct. By the time the Council had realised their mistake, the teacher had spent most of that money. The Court of Appeal held that the defence of estoppel prevented the employer from recovering the whole sum of the overpayment.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on estoppel and how it operates, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Apologies for being such a long time in responding; personal circumstances prevented me from acting on matters that didn't require my immediate attention.
Your help on this matter is most appreciated, and I will be contacting the previous employer in the next few days to arrange a repayment plan. Thank you for your quick responses and thorough explanations, it often helps to have an experienced third party look beyond any personal bias I had due to ill-blood between myself and my previous employer. Thanks again!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

No problem at all and thank you for taking the time to get back to me. All the best