Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In the case of Mrs D Lingard v Leading Learners Multi Academy Trust ET/2401985/2017 the Employment Tribunal held that giving a 4-day time period for the acceptance of a settlement agreement offer did not constitute ‘improper behaviour’.

The facts in Mrs D Lingard v Leading Learners Multi Academy Trust

Mrs Lingard commenced employment with Leading Learners Multi Academy Trust (“the Trust”) on 1 January 2002, and she was at the times relevant to this case employed as Head Teacher; the Trust is a group of four primary schools in Wigan.

In April 2016 Jonathan Brown was commissioned to undertake an external review of the school; at the end of this review Mr Brown fed back that the school was at the level “requires improvement”.

From 7 November 2016 Mrs Lingard was absent from work with high blood pressure and stress. On 15 November 2016 she undertook an occupational health assessment by telephone, and on 17 November 2016 she was invited to attend a welfare meeting on 30 November 2016.

Mrs Lingard attended the meeting on 30 November 2016 with her trade union representative, Mr Atkins. After this meeting an offer of settlement was made on a “without prejudice” basis by the Trust (via Mr Atkins) of £19,270 (subject to the completion of a settlement agreement); the reason that the offer of settlement was made was that it was not believed that Mrs Lingard would accept responsibility for the poor performance issues that had been raised. On 2 December 2017 Mrs Lingard wrote to Mr Atkins to complain about the without prejudice offer, to assert that she reserved her right to bring certain employment-related claims in the circumstances, and to seek clarification of how the state of affairs had arisen.

On 8 December 2016 Mr Atkins sent Mrs Lingard a further email confirming that a second without prejudice offer had been made of £30,000. Mrs Lingard subsequently dis-instructed Mr Atkins and instructed a law firm to deal with the matter. The offer of £30,000 was subsequently rejected.

Mrs Lingard subsequently resigned from her employment and brought claims in the Employment Tribunal. She relied in her claim form on  incidents which had occurred since 30 November 2016; the Trust objected to this, arguing that the incidents since 30 November 2016 should be covered by ‘without prejudice’ protection and was also a ‘protected conversation’ (for the purposes of section 111A Employment Rights Act 1996).

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

This article explains the law relating to the without prejudice rule.

The Employment Tribunal held that the following incidents were covered by the without prejudice rule as they related to attempts to settle an existing dispute (and therefore inadmissible for the purposes of the Employment Tribunal claim):

  • The rejection of the offers of £19,720 and £30,000
  • Correspondence between Mrs Lingard’s solicitor and the Trust’s solicitors

The Employment Tribunal held, further, that the meeting between Mrs Brown and Mr Atkins on 30 November 2016 to discuss the settlement offer of £19,720 was admissible as it constituted “improper behaviour” (and was therefore not covered by the ‘protected conversation’ rule); the further offer of settlement made on 8 December 2016 was covered by the ‘protected conversation’ rule as the 4-day time period given for the acceptance of the offer was not unreasonable (even if the ACAS Code on settlement agreements recommended that, as a general rule, ten calendar days should be given to consider the offer).

Our solicitors’ view on Mrs D Lingard v Leading Learners Multi Academy Trust

Chris Hadrill, partner in the employment department at Redmans, commented on the case: “When negotiating settlement agreements it is important to ensure that any offers made are marked ‘without prejudice’ and ‘subject to contract’ – a failure to do so can have potentially important repercussions if an Employment Tribunal claim is subsequently brought.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal in Mrs D Lingard v Leading Learners Multi Academy Trust can be found here.


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).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your first name (required)

Your last name (required)

Your email (required)

Your telephone number (required)

Brief details of your enquiry

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk


4.77 Average

205 Reviews

Gary P

All good advice, prompt and efficient

Posted 3 weeks ago


Excellent advice and customer service.

Posted 1 month ago

Aneet G

I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

Posted 2 months ago

Fern M

Very efficient and friendly

Posted 2 months ago

Neville S

A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

Posted 2 months ago

Daniel T

Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

Posted 2 months ago

Paul T

Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

Posted 2 months ago

Marina E

Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

Posted 2 months ago

Rosa B

Fabulous service all round.

Posted 2 months ago


Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

Posted 2 months ago

Alkhas K

Excellent service.

Posted 2 months ago

Mathias G

Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

Posted 3 months ago

Mark W

Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

Posted 4 months ago


Posted 4 months ago


I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

Posted 4 months ago


Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

Posted 4 months ago

Wavenie B

They were very straight to the point, friendly and understanding people. I felt they had my best interest. They were easy to get hold of, replies were almost instant. 5/5 for customer service

Posted 4 months ago

Christina P

Caroline was fantastic to work with - extremely knowledgeable, supportive, thorough and honest. I definitely recommend Redmans!

Posted 4 months ago


Very well done and fast support. Professional and reliable. Highly recommended!

Posted 4 months ago

Helene L

They were very knowledgable in the respected area in terms of change in law/regulations that is crucial for the clients who are seeking for legal arvice.

Posted 4 months ago

Sara R

Very helpful and wonderful advice

Posted 4 months ago