Five people at table, white wall

Settlement Agreements

If a working relationship has broken down, a settlement agreement can be used to create a clean break and avoid the situation deteriorating further. We advise both employers and employees on the terms of settlement agreements, making sure they understand the implications of the agreement itself and negotiating the best terms possible.

Using settlement agreements

Settlement agreements are usually used in two scenarios. If an employer and their employee are dispute, this type of agreement can help to resolve the situation, avoiding the added stress, time and cost that would be incurred if the matter went to court.

While settlement agreements are often used to end a relationship between two parties in dispute, they can also be used as an alternative to going through a redundancy process. Acting pragmatically and taking the current and potential financial situation of our client into account, we review your agreement to ensure that it meets your needs. Negotiation may be needed in some cases to make sure that the provision in the agreement is fair compensation.

As employment law specialists, we also have a broad knowledge of employment law matters, allowing us to identify other potential claims to strengthen your negotiation position.

Our experience

Given the very nature of this type of agreement, it can often be difficult for the parties involved to remain objective. This can lead to unreasonable demands or one party agreeing to less favourable terms than they should have.

Our specialist team have significant experience advising on all types of settlement agreement, making sure the process is a fair and legitimate means of ended the employment. Our clients include international, national and regional companies as well as senior executives, managing directors and CEOs.

If the relationship between both parties has deteriorated, having one of our experienced lawyers on your side will often help to take some of the emotion out of a highly charged situation. And we can be right by your side. With ten offices across the country, we can meet virtually or face to face, regardless of your location.


There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this. You may see websites which have Settlement Agreement ‘calculators’ on them, but every situation is different. This is why you need expert legal advice, in order to be able to assess the strength of any employment claims that you may have and to advise you on what a reasonable settlement figure looks like.

If the Settlement Agreement is drafted correctly (which we will ensure), it will confirm that entering into a settlement agreement will not affect any claims you may have in respect of accrued pension rights. You will also be able to pursue a personal injury claim, provided that you were not aware of this claim at the time you signed the settlement agreement.

While settlement agreements are often drafted very widely and attempt to exclude all future claims, a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal judgment confirmed that a settlement agreement cannot prevent an employee from bringing future claims which have not yet arisen. In order for a claim to be settled by the Settlement Agreement, it needs to be identified at the time the Settlement Agreement is entered into. In short, you cannot waive future claims which do not yet exist.


A Settlement Agreement is only binding after it has been signed by an independent legal advisor, so even if you do feel pressured to verbally agree the terms of a Settlement Agreement, you will not be bound by it until the written Agreement is signed.

Similarly, you cannot force your employer to enter into a Settlement Agreement, so it is advisable to seek independent legal advice as soon as you eceive your written Settlement Agreement if this is an offer that you would like to explore and take advice on.

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Hear what our clients say about us

I cannot thank Chris enough for the help he gave me. This was at a time in my life when I was at my lowest. I found myself in a devastating position, left feeling very alone and destroyed emotionally at the loss of a much-loved career, that I had worked so very hard for. From the outset Chris went above and beyond. He helped us through a myriad of issues and was unerring in his support from the outset. This really helped to take the pressure off me and my family at such a stressful and difficult time.

The thing that I felt made Chris really stand out is his caring nature. The empathy he shows is such an amazing quality and it really helped me to start getting back on my feet. Having someone fight my corner and believe in what I was saying, made me start to believe in myself again. He negotiated a substantial settlement, but what he did for me personally is priceless. Thank you so much for helping me gain my confidence and my life back.

Client Employment Issues

Catherine has a refreshing approach that is client-focused and very responsive. What differentiates her from other legal advisers is that her advice is enhanced with a deep knowledge and understanding of our sector and business.

Her advice and guidance is not delivered in the form of a dry legal ‘tome’ but provides an incisive point of view on a series of options, along with a realistic assessment of risk for each approach. Crucially, this also get to grips with the practical steps needed to put their advice into action.

Catherine and the team are friendly and supremely professional, providing pragmatic, astute legal advice and guidance. They translate complex legal matters into clear understandable language that can be used practically by non-lawyers.

Moira Foster-Fitzgerald Chief Group Services Officer and Designated Safeguarding Lead for South Gloucestershire and Stroud College

Elizabeth is quite simply an outstanding employment lawyer.  From the outset her knowledge, expertise and guidance instilled confidence and trust, putting me completely at ease and transformed a very stressful employment situation into a very manageable one.

She is a great listener, very easy to talk to, super patient & empathetic with an innate ability to quickly pinpoint successful strategies to secure resolution.

I cannot thank her enough for all her efforts in helping me successfully resolve my employment situation

Client Unfair dismissal

Catherine and her colleagues have become trusted advisors who are without fail highly responsive, supportive and most importantly, proactive.

They keep pace with the fast-moving needs of the college, and offer a pragmatic, cost-effective service which is results-focused. Their understanding of the needs of our organisation is unparalleled, and the team’s expertise in the FE sector instils absolute confidence. They are focused on helping us to achieve our business objectives and are on hand to deliver skilled advice whenever a need arises.

Andrea Greer Deputy Principal of Weston College

Catherine Mitchell has been our principal employment law partner since 2009 and worked exclusively with us since 2016. Over the years we have developed a very strong working relationship with her built upon mutual trust.

Catherine has made it her priority to fully understand Direct Wines and Laithwaites, our culture and preferred ways of working to provide a highly professional service across all elements of employment law. She is pragmatic, responsive, measured and very driven to deliver the results we expect as a client.

She possesses excellent interpersonal skills and provides high levels of confidence throughout our business. Direct Wines has complete trust in Catherine’s professional abilities and highly recommend her without hesitation.

Matt Wayne, Group HR Director Direct Wines, trading as Laithwaites

I was in shock and extremely stressed and upset given the out-of-the-blue bombshell that had been dropped on me by my employer of ten years. Heidi managed to calm me down and put me at ease with her kind words and obvious knowledge of the legal position; she was friendly, knowledgeable and was able to explain my options in a clear way.

Successful settlement package negotiated thanks to Employment and Immigration Associate’s advice

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the sincere guidance and extremely professional support we received from the team.

The whole team led us through a step by step approach to make the whole process very smooth and eventually successful.

A big thank you to Joanna Safadi and Jamie and each and everyone in your team at HCR Law.

New biometric residence card acquired for client thanks to Employment and Immigration Associate’s expertise

You are on fire! Thank you so much.

Client Employment Tribunal

The team has established a formidable Welsh presence within a strikingly short space of time.

Legal 500 2024 – Employment

HCR is a large company which offers a very good personalised service to its clients. Communication is very good and the company has a very broad-range of specialists in all areas of law.

Legal 500 2024 – Employment

In my experience, the team provides exactly what a client requires in terms of expertise, breadth, pragmatism, speed of action and results.

Legal 500 2024 – Employment

The relationship with us goes back a long way, and the service HCR provides in the more ‘traditional’ areas such as employment and education remains first-rate. But what has been especially pleasing is the way that, as our ambitions and vision have broadened, so too has HCR’s ability to support us on our journey. Of course I’m thinking in particular about our international plans and discussions – it’s no exaggeration to say that we couldn’t have come as far as we have without your tremendous support, expertise and sage advice. Thanks.


Client An Independent School

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