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redmans-blog-q&aChris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, answers the question:

“What are the requirements for a valid settlement agreement?”

For a settlement agreement to be valid, certain conditions have to be complied with:

  1. The agreement must be in writing;
  2. The agreement must relate to a “particular complaint” or “particular proceedings” (for example, reference to an unfair dismissal claim (or other forms of claim) or a particular Employment Tribunal claim number);
  3. The employee who is entering into the settlement agreement must have received legal advice from a relevant independent adviser on the terms and effect of the proposed settlement agreement and the effect of the settlement agreement on the employee’s ability to pursue their rights before an employment tribunal;
  4. The independent adviser who is advising the employee must be covered by a contract of insurance, or professional indemnity insurance, covering the risk of a claim against them by the employee in respect of that advice;
  5. The settlement agreement must identify the relevant independent adviser; and
  6. The settlement agreement must state that the conditions regulating settlement agreements under the relevant statutory provisions (whichever apply in the circumstances) have been satisfied

Further, if the independent adviser is a solicitor then they should hold a current practicing certificate.

If one or more of the above-listed criteria are not met then the settlement agreement will not be statutorily binding and, therefore, not a valid settlement agreement.

When you discuss your settlement agreement with your adviser (whether this is a solicitor, barrister, or otherwise suitably-qualified person) you should ask them the following questions:

  1. What are the “proceedings” that are being settled under the settlement agreement? Sometimes this will be obvious, but your legal adviser should advise you on the potential claims that you have in the circumstances and, therefore, what you are settling
  2. Is your legal adviser independent on the other party or parties to the settlement agreement? This should normally be the case, as your legal adviser should carry out a conflict check prior to agreeing to advise you on your matter, but it’s worth asking anyway
  3. If your legal adviser is a solicitor, what qualifications does he hold, is he an expert in the field of employment law, and what experience does he have with settlement agreements?
  4. What is the effect of the settlement agreement on your ability to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal or any other courts?
  5. Is your legal adviser covered by a contract of insurance or, specifically, professional indemnity insurance? All solicitors should be covered by a contract of  professional indemnity insurance but it is always worth checking.
  6. Does the settlement agreement state that the conditions regulating settlement agreements under the relevant statutory provisions are satisfied?

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented: “If you want to enter into a settlement agreement to settle your employment tribunal claims then you must ensure that you get appropriate and proper legal advice, otherwise you may find that your settlement agreement is not valid or enforceable.”

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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    Redmans Solicitors did a great job and were very professional at all times. Would definitely recommend.

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    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 3 months ago

    Fern M

    Very efficient and friendly

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    Neville S

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

    Posted 3 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 3 months ago

    Paul T

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

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

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    Fabulous service all round.

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    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.

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