raeburn christie clark&wallace solicitors & estate agents

Settlement Agreements

Advice for individuals with Settlement Agreements as well as those facing voluntary or compulsory redundancies in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and beyond.
 
Being presented with a settlement agreement can be a daunting prospect, whatever the circumstances.  For some, it comes out of the blue.  For others, it follows on from a breakdown in their relationship with their employer.   For the rest, it is the natural end-point of a formal redundancy process.  For most people, it will be the first time they have been in that situation.
 
What is a Settlement Agreement?
 
A settlement agreement is a legally-binding document that sets out the terms, agreed between an individual and their employer, on which that individual’s employment will terminate.  A settlement agreement should out the severance package offered and any conditions being imposed (such as what will happen during any notice period, or whether there are any restrictive covenants which might restrict the individual from leaving to work for a competitor or set up a rival business.
 
While leaving a job can be unsettling, particularly in difficult or uncertain economic times, settlement agreements can be beneficial to the individual as well as their employer: the main benefit for employees is that the compensation element of the agreement (the settlement payment) is usually partially or wholly tax-free.
 
What should I do if I think I might be offered one?
 
We would suggest that you contact us without delay.  In order for a settlement agreement to become legally binding you must receive independent legal advice before it is signed, and the solicitor who advises you must sign a special certificate and have valid professional indemnity insurance.  This certificate is to confirm that the solicitor has reviewed the agreement and explained not only its terms, but also their legal and practical implications for your own personal circumstances.  Without the certificate, the settlement agreement is unenforceable.  This need to take legal advice means your employer will most likely offer to pay some or all of your legal fees in getting the necessary advice.
 
How can Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace assist me?
 
A skilled solicitor can make all the difference in a settlement agreement.
 
When deciding whether to accept or reject a settlement agreement it is important to consider not only the terms of the agreement, but also whether signing up to it is the right thing for you. We can help guide you through every step of the process; from reviewing the background to the offer, explaining your options in simple straightforward terms, negotiating with your employer and, if you are comfortable with the agreement, arranging for it to be signed.
 
We have years of experience and advise on all aspects of employment law and employment related litigation, so if what is offered, or the terms on which it is offered, are wholly inadequate and a sensible settlement is not possible we can even advise you and, where appropriate, act on your behalf in the Employment Tribunal (in Aberdeen or elsewhere).  
 
For further information, or if you have received (or think you might be offered) a settlement agreement and need some help and advice, please contact our team to arrange an initial meeting at employment@raeburns.co.uk
Your main contacts

Neil Fraser

Partner

01224 332400

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Katie Spearman

Solicitor

01224 332488

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