Employment Law

Employment Law Support

Settlement Agreements and Employment Tribunals

Whatever the situation, we can provide expert employment law advice to help you navigate safely through. We can help ensure you make lawful, legally robust decisions based on current employment legislation and case law. We can also assist with Settlement Agreements, ACAS negotiations and support you with Employment Tribunals.

When faced with an employment law issue, or even a potential claim raised by an employee, we can help. We will evaluate the details of the situation and provide pragmatic advice on the best course of action.

Settlement Agreements

A settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement that sets out the terms and conditions for a mutually agreed ending of the employment relationship.

Sometimes, a settlement agreement is needed when there is no dispute (yet) but where you have had a 'protected conversation' with the employee about them leaving the business because it's just not working out.

If there is a dispute, e.g. a grievance or prospective Employment Tribunal claim, then a settlement agreement can be used to resolve the dispute and settle any claims before it goes to Court.

Settlement agreements need to be very carefully drafted. They usually include a severance payment by the employer in return for an agreement that neither party will pursue any claims against the other. There will also be other important conditions that might be included in the agreement, such as confidentiality clauses, an agreement to provide a neutral reference, and so on.

Poorly drafted settlement agreements can leave your business at a disadvantage. We can help ensure you get a legally robust and properly drafted agreement.

Employment Tribunals

If a current or former employee wishes to file a claim against you at an Employment Tribunal, they typically must start this process within three months of the incident they are basing their claim upon.

The individual must first contact ACAS before filing a claim with the Tribunal. ACAS will invite the individual to an 'early conciliation' process with you. This gives you an opportunity to negotiate a settlement of the claim before it gets filed. Often, the first that the employer knows about a potential claim is when they are notified by ACAS.

The individual must first contact ACAS before filing a claim with the Tribunal. ACAS will invite the individual to an 'early conciliation' process with you. This gives you an opportunity to negotiate a settlement of the claim before it gets filed. If you reach an agreement, this will be documented in a special ACAS settlement agreement document known as COT3.

If you fail to reach an agreement, or if either you or the employee refuse to participate in the conciliation process, then ACAS will issue the individual with a 'certificate number' that they can use when filing their Employment Tribunal claim using form ET1.

As the respondent employer, you will receive a copy of the ET1 and have to submit your response to the claim on form ET3.

The claim will then go forward through the Tribunal process. There may be a 'preliminary hearing' with an Employment Judge, to clarify the points of the claim and agree a time line for a full hearing. You will be given instructions on preparing your documentation for the hearing and specific dates by which certain tasks must be completed.

It is common for employers to engage both solicitors and barristers in this process, with costs that can run into many tens of thousands of pounds even for relatively straightforward cases.

In most cases, we can manage this process for you, and even represent you at the Tribunal hearings, representing a significant cost saving.

How much does it cost?

Employment Law and Paralegal Services

Tribunal Services

£225 per hour + VAT
Tribunal Representation
Tribunal Paperwork (Bundle)
Case Management Advice
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A complete Employment Tribunal service

We can support you through the Employment Tribunal process:

  • Tribunal paperwork (ET1, ET3, etc.)
  • Case management guidance
  • Help preparing a Tribunal 'bundle' (document pack)
  • Tribunal advocacy & representation

Note: as these may be substantial engagements, we may require a percentage of our estimated costs 'on account'.

* Travel and, if necessary, accommodation required to attend your offices or an Employment Tribunal will be charged at cost.

How long does it take?

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how long the Employment Tribunal process will take. The Tribunal system does have a substantial case backlog and it's not unusual for there to be a six to twelve month period between the initial claim being filed and the hearing taking place.

After hearing the claim, if the Tribunal decides that there should be some compensation or other remedy, then sometimes you may need to go back for another session known as a 'remedy hearing'. This separate session is used to determine what the amount of compensation and other remedial actions should be.

In addition, either party might appeal the Tribunal decision, which means another hearing has to be scheduled with the Employment Appeal Tribunal. This also requires a set of documentation (a bundle) to be compiled.

The best way to minimise the overall time taken by this legal process is to ensure you have made comprehensive and robust preparation, along with solid and experienced representation.

Even though the Tribunal system is intended for lay people to represent themselves, we strongly recommend that you engage us to assist you, as we have the case law knowledge and Tribunal experience required to improve your chances of a positive outcome.

Contact us for a free 30 minute consultation if you need to discuss current, or prospective, Employment Tribunal proceedings.

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