Settlement Agreements – Equality Act

Compromise Agreement – Compromise Agreements – Equality Act - Employment Lawyers - Redundancy - Redundancy Pay


Section 147 of the Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”) has already become the subject of legal discussion, due to apparent ambiguities.  This section of the Act sets out the requirements for an enforceable ‘compromise contract’ which purports to settle claims arising under the Act.  The ambiguity is in relation to the definition of an ‘independent adviser’, the person advising a complainant under the Act on the terms of their compromise contract. 

As with a compromise agreement under the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee/complainant would need to obtain independent legal advice regarding the terms and effects of the compromise contract given under the Act, particularly on the employee/complainant’s ability to pursue any claims against the employer.  However, one of the requirements under the Act is that the independent adviser is a person who is not acting and has not acted for the complainant, which implies that an adviser who has provided advice to a complainant/employee in relation to a dispute with his or her employer which gives rise to the compromise contract, would be precluded from advising the employee on the terms of the compromise contract.  According to leading opinions, the Act also implies that an adviser, who has been instructed to advise purely on the terms of the compromise contract, having not given any advice in relation to the dispute arising under the Act which leads to the compromise contract being given to the complainant, would similarly be precluded from advising on the terms of the compromise contract. 

Despite claiming that the position remains the same as before the Act, the Government Equalities Office has been asked to consider the ambiguities and clarify how these may be resolved.


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© RT COOPERS, 2010. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.



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