Claimant precluded from bringing further Employment Tribunal claim due to previous COT3 settlement agreement (Mr J Moulton v The Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary, ET)

In the case of Mr J Moulton v The Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary ET3328910/2017 the Employment Tribunal held that the Claimant could not bring a second claim against against Norfolk Constabulary as the terms of a previous settlement agreement entered into precluded this.

The facts in Mr J Moulton v The Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary

In 2015 Mr Moulton issued two claims against Bedfordshire Police – both of these claims were subsequently settled via a COT3 settlement agreement dated 25 January 2016. This COT3 settlement agreement stated that Mr Moulton was settling the claims he had issued for £5,000 and, further, that he would not have the right to bring any further claim against Bedfordshire Police Force or a number of other forces (including the Chief Constable of Norfolk Police). Mr Moulton subsequently withdrew his Employment Tribunal claims and they were dismissed.

In 2017 Mr Moulton subsequently brought a further claim against The Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary (“CCNC”). CCNC argued that it was covered by the COT3 agreement entered into in 2016 and that the new claim was simply an attempt to re-litigate the issues that existed in the previous claims; it also argued that, as per the previous claims, Mr Moulton had failed to show that any allegations of unreasonable treatment were related to his sexual orientation, as alleged.

The CCNC applied for Mr Moulton’s claims to be struck out on the basis that Mr Moulton had waived any claim against it by virtue of the COT3 settlement agreement.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal held that the COT3 settlement agreement agreed between the parties in 2015 on its wording prevented the new litigation from proceeding, as the new claim was related to or connected to the subject matter of the earlier claims; the Tribunal rejected Mr Moulton’s argument that he was raising new matters. The COT3 settlement agreement therefore acted as a bar to the new proceedings and should not be allowed to proceed.

Our solicitors’ view on Mr J Moulton v The Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary

Chris Hadrill, the partner in the employment team at Redmans, commented on the case: “This case shows that signing a settlement agreement will generally act as a bar to raising any issues settled by that agreement in any future claim, unless the language of the settlement agreement specifically allows this; parties to settlement agreements should be very careful to ensure that the wording of the settlement agreement meets what was intended by the parties.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal in Mr J Moulton v The Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary: 3328910/2017 can be found here.