Acas settlements are legally-binding contracts between the parties to settle actual or potential complaints to the Employment Tribunal.
When a resolution is reached, the Acas conciliator will record what has been agreed on an Acas settlement form, known as a COT3. Both parties will sign this as a formal record of the agreement. However, it is important to know that an agreement becomes binding at the point both parties confirm to Acas their agreement to the terms. This can be done in a telephone call or by email.
The COT3 is a legally binding enforceable contract This means that you will not be able to make a future tribunal claim in those matters, or, if a tribunal claim has already been lodged, it will be closed.
Most Tribunal claims can be compromised by means of a Settlement Agreement. The following statutory rights can only be settled by using a COT3:
Unlike Settlement Agreements, there isn’t usually any provision for your employer to provide a financial contribution for you to obtain legal advice. We would advise that a condition of you agreeing to enter a COT3 would be a reasonable financial contribution towards your legal costs, from your employer, which would be dependent on the complexity of your case.
Settlement Agreements usually provide for a contribution of £350-£500 plus VAT but we sometimes receive costs from the employer of up to £2,000-£3,000 plus VAT in particularity contentious cases.
If you have been offered a COT3 Agreement please contact us.
We are more than happy to have a free initial chat with you to point you in the right direction.
We advise that you ask for a financial contribution from your employer so that we are able to fully assess your situation. In the event of the employer refusing or their contribution being inadequate, we offer an initial discounted assessment service where our hourly rate is set at our initial one hour discounted rate of £150 plus VAT. We will provide an estimate of how many hours we will need to asses your case and how much this will cost once we have received your papers.
Where negotiations break down, we may be able to offer a no-win, no-fee agreement, sometimes called a Damages Based Agreement. This is where we receive a percentage of any compensation you receive, as a result of taking further action. This may include bringing a formal grievance or issuing proceedings.
Our COT3 Agreement solicitors will advise on the fairness of the sums offered and the tax implications.
We will be able to advise you as to whether the compensation offered by your employer is fair. For example, if we believe you have a claim such as a workplace discrimination or unfair dismissal claim, we will assess its potential value. We will also consider whether the terms in the COT3 are reasonable. We will also provide guidance on the tax implications of the figures put forward in the Agreement.
It is always your decision as to whether to enter into the COT3, ask for a Settlement Agreement, or make a claim at the Employment Tribunal. Our written advice will mean you are able to make an informed decision about how you wish to proceed.