Pump Court Chambers

What are Settlement Agreements?

Settlement agreements broadly do what they say, namely they settle the disagreement between the parties. They list the agreed terms of the settlement which usually involves one party giving up the right to bring or continue legal proceedings against the other in return for compensation, which is usually financial. Standard terms include paying any outstanding pay, forfeiting discrimination allegations and sometimes involve agreeing the terms of a reference.

Where proceedings have been issued, the settlement agreement will usually specify that the employee is to write to the employment tribunal to withdraw their claims, make any application for the claims to be dismissed, and not to oppose or appeal the dismissal of the claims.

Legal Advice & Negotiation Representation

Settlement agreements must fulfil certain criteria to be valid:

  • They must be in writing and relate to the proceedings.
  • The settlement agreement must state the relevant statutory provisions which have been satisfied.
  • Most importantly, in order for the settlement agreement to be valid, the employee must have received advice from a relevant independent adviser as to the terms and effect of the proposed agreement.
  • The legal adviser must be specifically named in the settlement agreement and have the relevant insurance in respect of loss arising to the employee because of the advice.

Therefore it is imperative that an employee takes legal advice before signing. Our Barristers are able to review your settlement agreement and to advise you on the terms. We are expert negotiators and can help with a strategy for reaching a settlement.

Speak to a member of our employment team:

Call 0208 167 4222

Contact our Employment Law Team

For further information about Settlement Agreements, please contact Dean Cunniff on +44(0)208 167 4222, email, or use the contact form below.

  • Drop files here or
    In order for us to assist you with your claim we ask if you could attach a copy of your contract of employment and any correspondence relating to your dispute.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Settlement Agreement FAQs

The cost can vary depending on the complexity of the settlement agreement. In most circumstances, the fees for advice will be covered in the terms of the agreement. For further information about Settlement Agreements, please contact Dean Cunniff on +44(0)208 167 4222, email, or use the contact form.

The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Code of Practice on settlement agreements specifies a minimum of 10 calendar days unless the parties agree otherwise.

Timescales for your case may vary depending on factors such as barristers’ availability, the complexity of your case, the need for additional documents and the other side’s approach. We are used to dealing with instructions quickly and adhering to tight deadlines.

There a number of advantages to negotiating a settlement agreement for an employee and an employer, including:

  • Cost – Avoids the cost of litigation associated with Employment Tribunal claims.
  • Certainty – Unlike bringing a claim before the Employment Tribunal, the terms of the settlement are guaranteed, ensuring a clean break in the employee-employer relationship.
  • Speed – Disciplinary and Employment Tribunal proceedings can be lengthy and stressful. A settlement agreement can bring a quick and efficient conclusion to a matter.
  • Non-Financial Benefits – It’s possible to negotiate for non-financial benefits such as a positive reference or improved working conditions.


ACAS code of conduct makes clear, settlement agreements are voluntary. You can enter into a process of negotiation in order to obtain a settlement that you are happy with, or simply refuse to have any discussion. The agreement will be ‘subject to contract’ which means it is not binding on either employer or employee until it is signed.

Following the latest government announcement of a full nationwide lockdown Chambers intends to continue offering as normal a service as possible throughout the duration of this unprecedented epidemic.

All our barristers and staff are able to work remotely and can be contacted through our switchboard, email or via our video conference facilities, so that you do not have to visit our offices.

Contact our Employment Law Team

For further information about Settlement Agreements, please contact Dean Cunniff on +44(0)208 167 4222, email, or use the contact form below.

  • Drop files here or
    In order for us to assist you with your claim we ask if you could attach a copy of your contract of employment and any correspondence relating to your dispute.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
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