How can a barrister help me with a settlement agreement?

If you are an employer or employee that is party to a workplace dispute, you might be considering instructing a barrister to advise you on a settlement agreement.

Why would an employer offer a settlement agreement?

Employers might offer a settlement agreement to bring an employment dispute to an end. If you are an employer that is concerned about an employee bringing a claim against you at an employment tribunal, a settlement agreement can be a useful way of ensuring they do not. Settlement agreements are legally binding and prevent the employee bringing a claim for disputes or conduct outlined in the agreement.

Having a watertight settlement agreement in place can protect the reputation of your business and also save the additional time and cost that you could incur if you were to go to an employment tribunal. It is essential to get expert legal advice to ensure your business is adequately protected from potential employee claims, and an expert employment barrister is the most qualified to assist you.

What should an employee look for in a settlement agreement?

If you have been offered a settlement agreement by your employer, you do not have to accept the agreement right away. In fact, it is actually a legal requirement that you have had independent legal advice with regards to the settlement agreement otherwise it will not become legally binding.Often, employers will offer to pay the legal expenses associated with seeking legal advice on a settlement agreement.

Your barrister will seek to get you the best deal possible, including a monetary settlement, a good reference, a preferable termination date if your contract is to come to an end, and any other benefits you believe you are entitled to. The financial amount you might expect to receive should be in line with: what an employment tribunal would be likely to award you if you were to bring a case before it, length of service, your position, the difficulty of getting a new role and the length of time you can expect to be out of employment, along with other factors which might affect your overall financial position.

Settlement agreements can be a useful tool for both employees and employers, and expert legal advice is essential in getting the most out of a settlement agreement. To discuss how our barristers might help you get the most out of a settlement agreement, contact our direct access barristers now.

When You’re Really Not Fired!

Alan Sugar on the Apprentice makes it easy to fire employees but in reality its never that simple. We all know people that let TV go to there head and try to fire employees in the same way as Alan Sugar does but this is ultimately unfair dismissal.

Your Employment Contract

First and foremost when you are employed everyone is given an employment contract which you must read and sign before you actually start working. Dismissal defined is when the employer terminates the contract of employment. In here contains the details of notice period aswell as accrued holidays, all of which change depending on length of service. The employment contract is a legal binding contract between employer and employee which is the first place to look when considering any employment dispute.

There must be a valid reason to dismiss an employee and you cannot just simply say “Your Fired!”. There isn’t actually a de facto standard / process to sacking someone and each case will be based on its own individual evidence. Human resource departments often found in large organisations are setup to ensure all employees are treated in a fair manner. In smaller organisations this is often left to an individual whose also has several other roles.

However its a legal obligation that all employers must treat all employees in a fair manner, no one is except from this. Upon a fair dismissal the employer should make it aware and present the facts to the employee of any performance or misconduct issues. If done rightly the employers should follow a consistent and fair approach. Dismissal might not always be the right recommendation based on the initial meeting because performance issues can be improved with training plans and misconduct issues can be fixed with the apology. Both of which depends on the employees attitude to correct the situation. But if the employer decides to dismiss the employee then there are several legal ways this can be done.

Ordinary Dismissal Claims

Most people a familiar with ordinary dismissal and covers both the employee and employer. Its when notice is given by the employee or employer to terminate the employment contract. The grounds for ordinary dismissal often include performance and misconduct. Meetings should be given before the dismissal and the employee give every chance to correct this before the dismissal is issued.

Summary/Immediate Dismissal Claims

In cases of serious and/or gross misconduct a summary / immediate dismissal can be implemented. No notice period has to be given here and will often be escorted out the building with all privileges taken away.

Constructive Dismissal Claims

This is where the employee resigns as a result of the employers poor conduct often including such behaviours as bullying or harassment. This often lead into a legal case where employment barristers can help you with legal advice and getting evidence together to potentially claim compensation for your constructive dismissal claim.

Wrongful Dismissal Claims

This is where the employer doesn’t follow the employment contract, most common cases are incorrect notice period. Often leading the wrongful dismissal claims where the employer can get their job back or even compensation.

Unfair Dismissal Claims

Unfair dismissal claims only applies to employees with 2 or more years service with the employer. Grounds for this are often around asserting a statutory right, trade union activities or even making a protected disclosure (ie whistleblowing).


Redundancy carries two strict legal meanings and applies to employers in the following;

  • stops carrying on the business for which a particular employee was employed, either completely or in the place where the employee works;
  • stops requiring employees or requires fewer employees to carry out work of a particular type, either at all or in the place where the employee works.

It is difficult to argue against redundancy but most redundancies come with a compensation package.

Help is at hand

At Barristers 4U our expert employment barristers provide legal advice and legal representation on your employer disputes, employment contracts, ordinary dismissal, summary dismissal, constructive dismissal, wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and redundancies.

Its never a good experience going through any sort of dismissal but if you ever feel you’ve been treating unfair and unjust then speak to one of our legal representatives today to discuss your options with an employment barrister and even get a free no obligation quote.