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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48748
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I was employed in local government for about 9 months.My

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Good afternoon, I was employed in local government for about 9 months.My employment was terminated allegedly due to my inability to learn a certain process fast enough(although some of my ex colleagues disagree and stated to me that I was doing ok). I was over paid for a while and as I was and I am in very dire financial situation,the money covered some debts. Now the authority wants the money back of which I fully understand that an error has been made and I will have to pay the money,however there is no money in my account. Is there any way we can negotiate a reasonable pay back method?If yes how?what are your fees?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok,thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long has it been since you left?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
my contract was terminated in M<arch 2016
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK thank you. Thank you also for the live phone call request. I am unable to talk at the moment as I am in court today but please leave it with me. I 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.

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there I will post my response shortly

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

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.

The way estoppel operates is that if the following conditions are satisfied, then an employee should be able to use it as a defence to resist the recovery of an earlier overpayment:

· The overpayments were made due to an error by the employer

· The employee genuinely believed they were entitled to the money, or did not even realise that they were being overpaid

· The employee has since 'changed their position', meaning they have spent the money in question. However, this does not mean just spending it on usual items of expenditure, such as bills, everyday spending, etc – you must have gone out of your way and changed your position, such as making additional purchases which you would not have done had you not received that money.

So whilst there is nothing stopping an employer from pursuing a claim to recover an overpayment, if the above conditions are satisfied then an employee could raise the defence of 'estoppel' and prevent the claim for proceeding any further. You could also use it as a negotiating tool when trying to agree on a repayment plan