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Chris Hadrill, partner in the employment department at Redmans, examines how parties to a settlement agreement may enforce the terms of a settlement agreement if they believe that there has been a breach of the agreement

Broad principles relating to enforcement

Generally, when one party has breached a settlement agreement, the other party may:

  • Seek to enforce its terms.
  • Seek damages by bringing a breach of contract claim.

If you believe that there has been a breach of your settlement agreement you should therefore consider whether you wish to seek to enforce the terms of the agreement, or whether you wish to seek damages against the other party. In respect of both types of action you will have to consider a number of factors, including, in particular, which forum you can bring the relevant claim in.

Employment Tribunal jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement

An Employment Tribunal only has legal jurisdiction to consider certain contractual claims which arise out of, or are outstanding at, termination of employment. An Employment Tribunal can therefore only seek to enforce settlement agreements where the settlement agreement has been entered into either prior to the employment terminating or at the same time as the employment terminated.

If the settlement agreement was entered into post-termination then the Employment Tribunal cannot enforce the agreement; a claim for enforcement must be brought in the civil courts.

How to enforce a settlement agreement

Enforcing a settlement agreement will generally involve a consideration of the following:

  1. Has there been a breach of the settlement agreement?
  2. Is it worth litigating to enforce the settlement agreement?
  3. If so, which forum should you bring the claim in?
  4. Issue the claim in the relevant forum

Has there been a breach of the settlement agreement?

If you wish to enforce your settlement agreement then you should first determine what clauses in the settlement agreement the other party has failed to implement, as the first hurdle you will have to clear is being able to persuade the court or tribunal that, on the balance of probabilities, a relevant term of the settlement agreement has been breached.

Is it worth litigating to enforce the settlement agreement?

Once you have determined which clauses have been breached, and which you therefore wish to enforce, you should consider the importance of the breach, and the cost/benefit of further litigation to enforce the agreement.

Which forum should you bring the claim in?

Should you wish to proceed to enforce the settlement agreement then you should consider which forum you wish to try and enforce the agreement in: will it be the Employment Tribunal or civil courts? (see above).

Issue the claim in the relevant forum

Once you have identified which forum to issue the claim in you must then, should you wish to enforce the settlement agreement, bring a claim in the relevant forum.

Top 5 tips for enforcing settlement agreements

  1. Check the settlement agreement and determine whether there has been a breach of the agreement
  2. Check which forum you should bring a claim to enforce the terms of the agreement in
  3. Make a decision as to whether, objectively, it is worth litigating to enforce the settlement agreement or whether your objectives can be met by other means
  4. Obtain legal advice on your situation
  5. Look to issue a claim in the relevant tribunal, if and when necessary

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

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Anonymous

I had an employment issue which required legal advice. Chris was very supportive and knowledgeable, resulting in an optimum resolution in my favour. Would definitely recommend.

Posted 5 days ago

David M

Very professional and first-rate advice. I would use again. With thanks,

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Anonymous

Got the job done swiftly without going too much in to detail.

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Derek W

Redmans dealt with my case very efficiently and I was happy with the outcome.

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Anonymous

Timely professional advice!

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Anonymous

Very good service

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Anonymous

I was in contact with Chris and then worked with Caroline on an employment matter. I was very pleased with the service and professionalism throughout, and came away with satisfied with the outcome. Would happily recommend.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Nikki

Received advice re employment law. Chris was very helpful and advised accordingly. Would happily recommend them and if ever I need help again, will not think twice before using them.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Samantha K

Absolutely brilliant thank you. Caroline Lewis is a legend

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The legal advice was clear and helpful.

Posted 2 months ago

Davinder P

Good Service

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Adrian V

I was using Redmans services for a Settlement Agreement. Very quick and professional service. The outcome was favourable and I was very pleased with the amendments and results. Pretty glad to recommend them for any type of legal advice.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very responsive, efficient, clear and supportive. Thank you! Highly recommend.

Posted 2 months ago

Tiago S

Chris was always prompt to help me with legal matters that are beyond my comprehension and very helpful leasing with my former employer. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors to everyone who needs help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional advice tailored to what was needed. Thanks for your help Chris Hadrill and team.

Posted 2 months ago

Peter S

Really pleased with the outcome and the advice I had from Chris and Sacha.

Posted 2 months ago

Harika A

Redmans solicitor's helped me with my settlement agreement, Chris has been very helpful throughout the process.He was very prompt in his responses and made my settlement look simple.Special thanks to Caroline for her efficient communication, thorough explaination of contract terminology and negotiations.I highly reccommend Redmans solicitors for anyone seeking employment related legal help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Good and quick service

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Ricky D

Very satisfying to be assured of such attention and professionalism.

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Anonymous

Excellent service - thankyou

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Anonymous

Efficient, timely and friendly support and advice

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