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Sharing lottery winnings

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Notice for Staff Room Wall (Offer) NATIONAL LOTTERY SYNDICATE : [WORKPLACE NAME] Since the National Lottery was launched in November 1994, it has been popular for groups to pool money together for the purchase of tickets for online draws. Not only is it more exciting playing in a group, but the more lines the group buys, the more entries they have in each game, and the more chances they have of winning (NL Website, 2006). We have decided to organise a syndicate at [Workplace], and hope that, as an employee of [Workplace], you will decide to join us in increasing your chances of winning a prize. Remember, even if our syndicate does not win, we contribute to good causes every time we play! Syndicates are often conducted informally but, since there is a potential for a large returns, it is essential that the rights and obligations of members of the syndicate, and of the organiser, are set out clearly in writing (EFP, 2003). Also of note, if there is no appropriate syndicate agreement in place, any of the prize monies distributed to other syndicate winners may be subject to inheritance tax. We have therefore drafted a suitable Agreement for [Workplace]’s syndicate. If, as an employee of [Workplace], you would like to participate in our syndicate, please review the provisions of our Syndicate Agreement in line with the Guidance Notes provided, and add your name and address to Schedule 1. Please then sign the Agreement in the presence of an independent witness (who should also give their name, address and signature), and return it to our Syndicate Manager, [Name]. These notes explain the Syndicate Agreement, setting out the meaning of each clause and the reasons why it has been included. If, after reading these notes, you are still unsure as to your rights and obligations under the Syndicate Agreement, we recommend that you seek independent legal advice. Why have a formal agreement? Lottery Syndicates are often conducted informally but this is unwise as there is the potential for a large payout. All sorts of difficult situations may arise – for example, where someone doesn’t pay their stake during a winning week, or someone demands that they were entitled to a bigger share of the winnings than other people (perhaps because they have been in the syndicate for longer). A formal agreement in writing deals with all of these eventualities, setting out exactly what each Member has agreed to. We are also aware that, where National Lottery winnings are shared out among the members of a syndicate in accordance with “a pre-existing enforceable arrangement” made before the win, there is no liability to inheritance tax since the syndicate manager does not make a “gift” or “chargeable transfer” – however, where no suitable agreement exists, inheritance may be payable (HMRC Statement E14 as amended in 1996, Division H3.4). Although this does not need to be recorded in writing, the HMRC advise this (HMRC Statement E14, supra). It is important to show that the parties to the syndicate intend it to be legally binding and more than a mere social arrangement so that, in the event of a prize being won, all parties are paid what they are due in accordance with what they have agreed. In Simpkins v Pays (1955), three persons regularly contributed to a competition and one week the entry was successful but the defendant refused to pay the plaintiff his share of the prize and claimed there was no intention to create a legally binding relationship. Although the plaintiff was successful in claiming his share, other claimants have been less successful in proving that all parties intended there to be a contractually binding agreement, particularly where there has been proximity of relationship (see, for example, Balfour v Balfour (1919) in which it was held that there was no intention to create a legally binding agreement between husband and wife to pay £30 per month maintenance to the wife; also see Hoddinott v Hoddinott (1949) 2 KB 406, CA). Clearly such disputes could have been avoided had a suitable agreement been in place – a written agreement can be used as legal evidence if any Member of the syndicate disagrees with how any winnings are to be distributed. The essentials of our agreement For an agreement to be binding, there must be, amongst other things, a valid offer and acceptance. An offer is an expression by one person or group of persons, made to another, of his willingness to be bound to a contract with that other on terms either certain or capable of being rendered certain. The offer may be made to an individual (e.g., British Bank Foreign Trade Ltd v Novinex Ltd (1949)) or to a group of persons (e.g., The Satanita (1897)), or to the world at large (Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co (1893)). Our offer was made through a notice on the staff room wall and it is clear that we have made the offer only to employees of [Workplace]. This is simply to keep the syndicate administrable. Although advertisements and notices are not always construed as offers (such as in Partridge v Crittenden (1968) where further negotiation of terms was necessary to reach a binding agreement), we have ensured that our notice amounts to a formal offer by stating that, to join the syndicate, no further negotiations are necessary; an employee need only to avail themselves of the terms of the Agreement and insert their details into Schedule 1 (Part 1 or 2) to accept. In order to accept our offer to join the Syndicate, you need to comply with the terms of acceptance in the Notice, by adding your name and address to Schedule 1 (Part 1 or 2). You then need to sign the Agreement in the presence of an independent witness (who should also give their name, address and signature), and return it to our Syndicate Manager, [Name]. By doing this, you are demonstrating that you agree to the terms of the offer unequivocally and unconditionally (Taylor v Laird (1856)). Please note that this is the only mode of acceptance that we can allow – any other purported acceptance by some other means will amount only to a counter-offer in which case there will be no binding contract (Burton v Great Northern Rly Co (1854)). The remaining guidance notes below set out the reasons for the inclusion of the main provisions of the Agreement, and cite authority for each provision.

General

Clauses 1.7 – 1.9 are general interpretation clauses, so that for example, where the Agreement refers to ‘he’ it also includes ‘she’, and where the agreement refers to ‘the Members’ it also means a single member. Clause 2 sets out the purpose of the Agreement, for the avoidance of doubt.

Members

The Agreement has been designed to accommodate not only the original members of [Workplace]’s syndicate (which are to be set out in Schedule 1 Part 1), but also any persons joining the Company in the future who may wish to play (which are to be set out in Schedule 1 Part 2). The Schedule is easily amended to accommodate new players. Because Schedule 1 Parts 1 and 2 is so easily amended, for the avoidance of doubt, we have included Clause 1.2 to the effect that to be a Member of the syndicate, you must include your name, address and signature in Schedule 1 (Part 1 or 2), which must be witnessed by an independent person (i.e. someone who is not a Member and who is not associated with the Syndicate in any way). You also need to include your date of joining – this is relevant to Clause 2 of the Agreement because you will be participating in the Syndicate from the next Saturday draw following your date of joining. We have also included provisions to allow any Member to resign from the Syndicate. Again, for the avoidance of doubt, this must be done by entering your name and address and signature, to be witnessed by an independent person, into Schedule 1 Part 3, together with the date on which the entry is made. This will prevent any dispute over what instructions were given to the Syndicate Manager.

Draws

We have agreed that our syndicate will only play in the Saturday Lotto draw, and this is set out at Clause 1.1. Wherever the Agreement refers to ‘the Lottery’, this means the Saturday Lotto draw. At this time, our agreed stake is £1.00 per Member and this is set out at Clause 1.4 and in Schedule 2. We have included this in a schedule so that we can easily amend the Agreement in future if we decide that each Member wants to put more into the syndicate – we have made any such amendment subject to a unanimous decision so that all Members must agree to such changes. We have agreed that the tickets we purchase will be Lucky Dip tickets – these are tickets purchased which allow the National Lottery to allocate completely random Lottery numbers (Clause 4.3).

Subscriptions

Clause 4 lays down quite strict requirements for ‘participating’ in the syndicate. Members are required to pay their stake to the Syndicate Manager by 13:00 on the Friday preceding each Lottery draw and if they do not comply with these provisions, they will not be construed as participating in the draw.

Winnings

Clause 3.1 places the responsibility of collecting any prize on the Syndicate Manager, [Name]. The Syndicate Manager must collect the prize and hold it ‘on trust’: this means that, although they have the money in their possession, it does not belong to them and they are holding it for the other Members until it can be paid over (Abrahams v Trustee of the Property of Abrahams (1999)). Clause 3.3 provides that any prize won will be shared between the Members of the Syndicate who have participated in the draw for that week. Clause 3.4 requires that the Syndicate Manager pay the prize to the Members entitled to it within seven days. This is important because large prizes could potentially accumulate a substantial amount of interest if paid into a bank account, which the Manager could benefit from and/or the Members could lose out on. If the prize is not paid within seven days, therefore, interest becomes due at a standard contract rate (Clause 3.5).

The Syndicate Manager

The Agreement provides for a Syndicate Manager who will run the syndicate – this will be [Name] as identified in Schedule 1 Part 3. The Syndicate Manager can also be a Member. Clause 7 sets out the responsibilities of the Syndicate Manager which include to collect subscriptions, purchase Lucky Dip tickets, check whether the tickets have won a prize, obtain any prizes and distribute them to the Members entitled. The Syndicate Manager also has to keep records of all contributions and prizes which can be inspected by any Member, and to keep the Agreement (particularly the Schedules) up to date. We have included a provision that the Syndicate Manager may not purchase any Lucky Dip tickets for their own personal use on the same day as purchasing tickets for the syndicate – this is to avoid any confusion as to whose tickets have won since all syndicate tickets will be purchased on the Friday before the relevant draw. We have also included a clause that resolves the Syndicate Manager from any liability in respect of any failure to win a prize in the Lottery or any other financial loss or claim arising out of the Agreement, in the absence of any deliberate wrongdoing.

Publicity

We have included a clause which states that the Members do not agree to participate in publicity as a result of winning a prize under the Agreement. We appreciate that some Members may not object to publicity but we feel that since publicity is intrusive, we need to protect the present and future Members that wish to avoid such intrusion.

Liability of [Workplace]

The Agreement makes it clear that [Workplace] does not acquire any rights or obligations as a result of participation in the syndicate by its employees. Agreement for National Lottery syndicate This Agreement is made the day of between the persons listed in Schedule 1 to this agreement.
  1. Definitions
In this agreement:
  1. ‘the Lottery’ means the National Lottery prize draw which takes place on Saturday and is organised by Camelot Watford, Head Office and Regional Centre Camelot Group plc, of Tolpits Lane, Watford, Herts, WD18 9RN
  2. 'the Members' means the persons who have included their name, address and witnessed signature and date of joining in Schedule 1 Part 1 or Part 2 to this agreement
  3. 'the Syndicate Manager' means the person whose name and address is set out in Schedule 1 Part 4 or such person as is appointed his successor by the majority of the Members
  4. 'the Stake' means the sum set out in Schedule 2 paid weekly, agreed to be subscribed by the Members which may be reviewed and amended from time to time by the Members by unanimous decision
  5. 'the Total Stake' means the total number of stakes for each draw;
  6. ‘Lucky Dip Tickets’ means tickets purchased using the National Lottery Lucky Dip facility
  7. words importing any gender include every gender;
  8. words importing the singular number include the plural number and vice versa;
  9. the clause headings do not form part of this agreement and shall not be taken into account in its construction or interpretation.
  1. Agreement
By entering into this agreement, the Members are agreeing to join together to participate in the Lottery, commencing with the next prize draw after the date of their joining.
    1. Obligation to share winnings
      1. In the event that a prize is won in the Lottery as a result of purchasing tickets using the Total Stake, the Syndicate Manager shall arrange collection of that prize and shall hold it on trust for each of the other Members who are participating in the Lottery for that week
      2. For the avoidance of doubt, Members participating in the Lottery for that week are those Members that have complied with the provisions of Clause 4.1 exactly.
      3. The proceeds of the prize will be shared equally between the Members participating in the Lottery for that week and those Members only will be entitled to an equal share of the prize
      4. Each share of the prize shall be paid to the Member entitled within 7 days of receipt by the Syndicate Manager
      5. If a share is not paid to the Member entitled to it within 7 days of receipt by the Syndicate Manager, that Member shall also be entitled to receive interest at the rate of 4% above the base lending rate of Barclays Bank plc from time to time in force.
      6. For the avoidance of doubt, a prize won in the Lottery by a Member otherwise than by means of the purchase of Lucky Dip tickets with the Total Stake by the Syndicate Manager on behalf of the Members under this Agreement, shall not be subject to the obligation to share contained in this clause.
    2. Subscription
      1. Each Member will pay the Stake, as set out in Schedule 2, to the Syndicate Manager by 13:00 on the Friday preceding each Lottery draw
      2. If a Member does not comply exactly with the provisions of Clause 4.1, they will not be construed as participating in the preceding Lottery draw
      3. On receipt of the Total Stake, the Syndicate Manager shall purchase Lucky Dip tickets to the value of the Total Stake
      4. Any prize won as a result of the purchase of tickets in accordance with Clause 4.3 shall be shared in accordance with Clause 3 above
    3. Publicity
      1. The Members do not agree to participate in publicity as a result of winning a prize under this Agreement
    4. Resignation
      1. Any Member may resign by entering their name and address and signature, witnessed by an independent person, into Schedule 1 Part 3, together with the date of resignation which must be the date on which the resignation is made
      2. Any resignation in accordance with Clause 6.1 will have immediate effect
      3. Once a Member has resigned in accordance with Clause 6.1 any entitlement to a share in any prize won thereafter shall cease.
    5. Responsibilities of the Syndicate Manager
      1. The Syndicate Manager shall:
        1. collect subscriptions from the Members participating in the draw for that week in accordance with Clause 4
        2. purchase Lucky Dip tickets at an authorised sales point of the Lottery in time for inclusion in each weekly draw using the full amount of the Total Stake for that week, and retain and keep safe those tickets issued to him
        3. check whether the purchased tickets have won a prize
        4. obtain any prize won in the Lottery as a result of the purchase of Lucky Dip tickets using the Total Stake for that week
        5. distribute any prize won to the Members entitled in accordance with Clause 3
        6. keep records of all contributions made and prizes won, and make this record available to any Member for inspection on request
        7. keep this Agreement safe and the Schedules updated at all times and provide each Member with a photocopy of the Agreement and updated Schedules as soon as practicable on request
      2. The Syndicate Manager may not purchase any lucky dip tickets for his own personal use on the same day as purchasing tickets for the syndicate
    6. No Liability of Syndicate Manager
      1. In the absence of wilful neglect or default the Syndicate Manager shall not be liable to any Member in respect of any failure to win a prize in the Lottery or any other financial loss or claim arising out of this agreement.
    7. No obligation of [Workplace]
      1. [Workplace] shall incur no liability nor attain any rights as a result of participation in the Lottery by employees of [Workplace]
SCHEDULE 1 Original Members (names, addresses and witnessed signatures of original Members) Subsequent Members (names, addresses and witnessed signatures of persons joining later, with dates of joining) Former Members (names of Members who have resigned, with dates of termination of membership) The Syndicate Manager (name, address and signature of the Organiser and of any successor Organiser) SCHEDULE 2 Amount of the Stake (e.g. “£1.00”) SCHEDULE 3
  • Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents: Gambling (Gaming, Betting, Lotteries and National Lottery) (Volume 17(1)) (2003 Reissue) (A) Commentary E. National Lottery Syndicates 190. Lottery syndicates
  • Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents: Gambling (Gaming, Betting, Lotteries and National Lottery) (Volume 17(1)) (2003 Reissue) (B) Forms and Precedents A: Lottery Syndicates 160 Agreement for National Lottery syndicate for employees
  • Halsbury's Laws of England: Inherance Taxation 2. Main Charging Provisions (1) Main Charges and Definitions 408. Meaning of 'chargeable transfer'
  • National Lottery Website: http://www.nationallottery.gov.uk
  • Simon's Direct Tax Service Binder 8 HMRC practice Part H3 HMRC Statements of Practice Division H3.4 IR Statements issued before 18 July 1978—full texts E. Statements relating to inheritance tax E14 Pools etc syndicates
  • Stone, R (2005) The Modern Law of Contract (6th Edition) Cavendish Publishing Limited
Abrahams v Trustee of the Property of Abrahams (1999) BPIR 637 Balfour v Balfour (1919) 2 KB 571 British Bank Foreign Trade Ltd v Novinex Ltd [1949] 1 KB 623, [1949] 1 All ER 155, CA Burton v Great Northern Rly Co (1854) 9 Exch 507 Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co [1893] 1 QB 256 CA Hoddinott v Hoddinott (1949) 2 KB 406, CA Partridge v Crittenden (1968) 2 All ER 421 Simpkins v Pays (1955) 3 All ER 10 Taylor v Laird (1856) 1 H & N 266; 25 LJ Ex 329 The Satanita [1897] AC 59, HL
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