Getting legal advice on your settlement agreement

If you’ve been offered a settlement agreement by your employer then you’ll want to obtain legal advice from a professional who is an expert in that field. In this article we take a look at what settlement agreements are and who you should be looking to obtain legal advice from on your settlement agreement.

What is a settlement agreement?

A settlement agreement is a contract regulated by statute which allows an employee and an employer to settle an existing or potential legal dispute (whether this was in the Employment Tribunal, County Court or High Court). This contract normally involves the employee waiving (or settling( some or all of the potential (or existing) claims that they may have against their employer in return for some form of payment. This payment may be financial (such as the payment of a sum of money and/or other contractual benefits, such as the provision of a company car or allowing the employee to keep their company mobile telephone) and/or it may include non-financial elements, such as the provision of an agreed reference and/or offering the employee outplacement services after they leave their employment.

In order for a settlement agreement to be valid, it must (among other things) have a certificate of advice which certifies that the employees has received legal advice on their settlement agreement from a legal adviser who is independent of the employer. We’ll have a look below at who can potentially be deemed to be a legal adviser.

Who should you obtain legal advice on your settlement agreement from?

In order for your compromise agreement to be valid, you must obtain legal advice from one of the following types of “legal adviser”:

  • A solicitor or barrister
  • A suitably qualified Trade Union official
  • A suitably qualified Citizens Advice Bureau employee or volunteer

Redmans Solicitors’ employment law solicitors are expert in providing advice on compromise agreements (soon to be renamed settlement agreements) to employees and employers. Please get in touch with us today if you wish to obtain advice on such an agreement.

Please note, “compromise agreements” change their name to “settlement agreements” on 29 July 2013.