Settlement Agreements - the role of an independent legal adviser

If you are an employee who has been offered a Settlement Agreement, you will have been informed that you need to take it to an independent legal adviser for them to sign the agreement off.  

It may be that the proposal has been a complete shock to you, and you need advice as to whether you should sign the agreement at all. However, it may also be that you have negotiated yourself an exit, and you are very happy to sign the agreement off. In such circumstance, you may consider that having to go and see a solicitor for further advice is somewhat strange.  

The reason that an independent legal adviser is necessary is because most Settlement Agreements are drafted by the employer, or the employer’s solicitor. Generally speaking the employer will have more resources and access to advice. As an individual, you may not necessarily have such expertise at your fingertips.  

The role of an independent legal adviser is to ensure that you understand what you are signing. Settlement Agreements often contain various warranties which you are giving, and if you breach the Settlement Agreement, you could be in difficulty in the future. It is therefore very important that a solicitor with the correct insurance and with expertise guides you through the agreement. Frequently, we may have reason to negotiate amendments to the Agreement you have been given.   

To this end, we will always have a discussion with you in relation to the background to the Settlement Agreement, and whether or not you should accept the agreement at all. 

We regularly receive feedback from our clients who are grateful for our expertise and straight talking approach, and who often feel that, having engaged us to assist them with their Settlement Agreement, they are able to move forward both professionally and emotionally. 

If you have been approached by your employer with a view to negotiating an exit, or indeed you have already been given a Settlement Agreement, do not hesitate to contact us. Usually it is possible to negotiate an agreement for your employer to meet your legal fees, or at the very least, a proportion of them. Finally, we are usually able to offer a quick response and turnaround if there are tight deadlines to be met.


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