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Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Settling a tribunal claim; What types of agreement are legally

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Settling a tribunal claim;

What types of agreement are legally binding when ending /withdrawing an employment tribunal claim for constructive dismissal / sex discrimination?

I understand that both an acas (COT3) agreement and a compromise agreement are legally binding.

but if you just make up your own agreement, between the parties, would this also be legally binding in this sort of case?

If the employee does not comply with all the conditions of such an agreement (just between the parties) could the employer reasonably refuse to pay any sums agreed?

In this case would the employee have any recourse, ie could they bring a breach of contract claim, even though they have not complied with all the terms set out themselves?


Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Any reason the parties do not want to go down the cot3 or CA routes?

I guess my question is partly rhetorical, in so much as an agreement was drawn up just between the parties.


However this was drawn up by the claimants solicitor and we were advised it would be an acas cot 3 agreement, indeed it is presented as a cot 3 agreement, and the text refers to it being a cot 3 agreement.

But they withdrew the ET claim, before getting acas involved, who then couldn't process it as a cot 3.


I refused to pay on the basis that the agreement clearly states:

payment will be made within 14 days of receipt of form cot 3, duly signed etc.


I felt this might leave us open to further claims and they had not complied with the terms of the agreement.


However the claimants solicitor has repeatedly claimed that this agreement is legally binding and we are in breach of contract, despite the above.


Hope this helps clarify


thanks for your help


Hi just checking if you need any more information

Ben Jones :

There are two types of claim that an employee can have against their employer - contractual or statutory.


If you are trying to waive contractual claims alone, then this can be done by entering into a contractual agreement with the other party. However, in order to try and waive statutory claims you may only do so legally by entering into a COT3 agreement or a compromise agreement.


If you are making a sex discrimination claim then that would be a statutory claim and it would need to be settled via a COT3 or a CA.


So if this agreement was used to settle statutory claims, it would not be valid but if it was used to settle contractual claims then it can be. In this case if this was intended to be a COT3 but it never ended up as such it could make the whole agreement void and neither party would be contractually obliged to the other. This could then become a potential negligence claim on the part of the solicitor who withdrew the claim before the agreement was officially ratified by ACAS.


Great thanks,

I thought there was something like this about statutory rights but couldn't find it,

if you have any references I could refer to, just to confirm this that would be brilliant

Ben Jones :

There is no one source for this and each piece of legislation would contain its own restrictions on the ability to contract out of claims under it. For example, section 203(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 states that a provision in any agreement is void in so far as it purports to exclude or limit any provision in the Act. For the Equality Act it is section 144(1)

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