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In the case of Mr P Ratcliffe v Baker Hughes Ltd:4100573/2016 the Employment Tribunal held that it did not have jurisdiction to consider Mr Ratcliffe’s claim for unfair dismissal due to the COT3 that had been signed on his behalf by his trade union representative.

The facts in Ratcliffe v Baker Hughes Ltd

Mr Ratcliffe was employed by Baker Hughes Limited (“Baker Hughes”). He was made redundant on 18 December 2015 and was dissatisfied with his dismissal. He was a member of the Unite trade union and approached his Trade Union for assistance; he was assisted by a trade union representative, David Lawson, who helped Mr Ratcliffe to engage in early conciliation. Terms of settlement were agreed through discussions involving ACAS, Baker Hughes’ counsel Neil Adam, and Mr Lawson. As a consequence of these discussions settlement terms were agreed and a COT3 form drafted; as part of the COT3 terms a reference was also agreed.

On 17 March 2016 Mr Lawson signed the COT3 form on behalf of Mr Ratcliffe, and Mr Ratcliffe counter-signed on 6 April 2016. On 17 March 2016 ACAS confirmed that a binding agreement had now been reached between the parties; the monies payable under the settlement agreement were subsequently paid to Mr Ratcliffe. After the agreement had been signed Mr Ratcliffe complained that he had not agreed to the offer made by Baker Hughes, and he wrote to the company on 30 April 2016 to confirm this. He subsequently pursued Employment Tribunal proceedings.

On 17 May 2016 Baker Hughes’ solicitors applied to the Tribunal for a preliminary hearing on the basis that the Employment Tribunal had no jurisdiction to consider the claim (on the grounds that a COT3 agreement had been completed).

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Ratcliffe v Baker Hughes Ltd

The Employment Tribunal held that it had no jurisdiction to consider Mr Ratcliffe’s claims as a valid COT3 agreement had been completed: Mr Ratcliffe could not show that Mr Lawson did not (at the least) have ostensible authority to agree to the terms of the COT3 agreement offered as his representative – the COT3 form was properly entered into, and the agreed settlement terms were implemented.

Our solicitors’ view on Ratcliffe v Baker Hughes Ltd

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Once settlement agreement (or COT3) terms have been agreed and completed it can often be difficult to challenge th0e validity of the agreement (there are only limited circumstances in which this can be done. If you have entered into a settlement agreement or COT3 agreement and want to resile from it then it is recommended that you receive expert legal advice as soon as possible.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal can be found here.

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

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Testimonials

4.62 Average

39 Reviews

Katelyn

The solicitor communicated well with me and made sure I understood everything. He did everything needed for my settlement agreement and tried to get the wording changed in my favour too.

Posted 3 days ago

Anonymous

Redmans provided excellent services

Posted 3 days ago

Sibel U

Excellent service

Posted 3 days ago

Peter S

I was very happy with the level of advise I received from Caroline Lewis, and a very professional service fron Chris, The advice given really helped me and I was comfortable to sign the settlement agreement following my redundancy. I would be more than happy to recommend your services to others.

Posted 3 days ago

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I very much appreciated the help provided by Redmans in the settlement agreement agreed with my former employer.

Posted 4 days ago

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Posted 2 weeks ago

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Worked very quickly considering right deadlines - and gave great advice

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Redmans provided me with excellent advice at a very stressful time. The calm, confident and extremely professional manner in which my solicitor handled my case made the issue much easier to deal with and I was very impressed with the level of service I received.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Immediate response to my initial enquiry. Very clear throughout the whole process and thorough and great communication which worked really well during quite a stressful time. Chris Hadrill was extremely helpful and made me feel at ease.

Posted 3 months ago

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I received a very professional service from Chris. The advice given really helped to leave me comfortable to sign the settlement agreement following my redundancy. Would be happy to recommend your services to others.

Posted 3 months ago

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Excellent service from initial contact to deliverables.

Posted 4 months ago

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Yes, Chris Hadrill answered all my questions and I feel more confident with my current situation

Posted 4 months ago

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Chris Hadrill was referred to me my a friend of mine. I found the service to be efficient, quick and like Chris's direct approach to my work. Well done and thank you Chris!

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Very prompt & structured service that helped put my mind at rest at a difficult time

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

I have found Redmans to be very helpful, diligant and thoroughly professional when dealing with them, plus they gone that extra mile for me !

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Thank you to Chris Hadrill at Redmans for his assistance in settling my case. I contacted him at the very last minute and he was happy to help me and managed to get everything done on time and in a very professional manner. I will definitely be happy to work with him again .

Posted 4 months ago

Redman's provided excellent legal employment advice for me during a difficult time in my employment. Chris was my lawyer, super efficient, quick, reliable and clearly very experienced in the matter. Could not ask for a better law firm to deal with your query if you are in need of some help. Would definitely use them again in the future. Highly recommending Chris.

Posted 8 months ago

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Posted 8 months ago

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At Redmans the solicitor that was dealing with me was Chris. He dealt with my situation smoothly with clear guidance and explanation

Posted 8 months ago

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Posted 9 months ago