06/02/2017

It is well known that the wording of an agreement is vital. It must say everything you want it to say because no one else should have to guess what you meant it to say. The same applies in COT3 agreements (a settlement agreement that is reached with the help of an ACAS conciliator).

In a new decision from the EAT, (Employment Appeal Tribunal), it was determined that the tribunal could hear a claim despite there being a previous COT3 to settle matters between the parties.

The wording of the previous agreement settled any claim arising from the facts of the proceedings up to and including the date of the COT3. This appears clear enough.

However, as the wording did not say “all claims arising within the period up to the date of the COT3”, but instead limited it to claims “arising from the proceedings up to the date of the COT3”, the tribunal ruled that the agreement did not prevent a new claim under new circumstances, unrelated to the “proceedings”.

This is a very strict interpretation of the COT3 and makes it even more vital to ensure the wording used, covers everything that is to be settled.

It means anyone drafting such an agreement needs to check and double-check that the COT3 really is fit for purpose.

If you need advice on how best to deal with any disciplinary matters or employment related issues contact Laura Franklin at Beswicks Legal on 01782 205000 or laura.franklin@beswicks.com.