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Settlement Agreements

We regularly advise individuals on the terms of their settlement agreement. A settlement agreement can provide a clean break for both an employee and their employer. It can offer a quick alternative to the time and cost associated with following a dismissal process.

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If you have been given a settlement agreement by your employer, it’s important that you fully understand its terms and get the fair deal you deserve. Our employment law experts based in Southampton and Winchester can help you understand your rights and what all the clauses in the agreement mean and how they will impact you. We can also negotiate on your behalf to increase your compensation payment and make sure you are fully protected in the agreement.

What is a settlement agreement?

Signing a settlement agreement essentially means you waive or settle all possible claims against your employer, usually in return for a payment. The agreement will include details of any payments to be made, the claims that are being waived, and other clauses such as a confidentiality clause. The agreement is also likely to include a contribution by your employer towards the cost of your legal fees.

Terms that are negotiated through a settlement agreement can often represent a better outcome compared to what you may achieve through issuing a case in the employment tribunal. This is partially due to the uncertainty and ‘litigation risk’ of issuing a claim at the tribunal. An agreement can also provide you with control over specific terms, such as a reference or an agreed announcement. These are terms that can be extremely valuable to an employee.

In addition, by entering into a settlement agreement, you can avoid the financial and emotional burden of issuing a claim at an employment tribunal.

Do you have to sign your agreement and how long will it take to conclude?

Settlement agreements are completely voluntary and both you and your employer need to agree to the terms. You must carefully read your agreement, and it can only become a legally binding waiver of claims once you have taken independent legal advice on the terms of the proposed agreement and the effect it has on your ability to pursue any claims.

Generally speaking, settlement agreements can be concluded relatively quickly. If you are happy with the terms of the proposed agreement, we should be able to finalise the agreement within a few days. In some cases, it can be concluded on the same day. However if there are further negotiations needed on the financial package or terms of the agreement then this means that the process will take longer.

Getting a fair deal

We can help you understand any potential legal claims you may have against your employer and the merits of those claims. For example, this may involve considering if you could have an unfair dismissal claim or any discrimination claim. We can then advise you on the amount of compensation you could expect to receive if you brought such a claim in the employment tribunal. This will help you to establish whether you are being offered a fair settlement package or if you would like to negotiate an increase in your compensation.


Our Settlement Agreements team is made up of 2 solicitors, 3 associates and 3 partners. It is normal for an employer to make a contribution towards your legal fees as a term of the settlement agreement. Wherever possible, we will work within this contribution. If our fees are likely to exceed the contribution being paid by your employer then we will discuss this with you, and wherever possible, agree a budget with you.

In-House Counsel

Our team of experienced lawyers is well-equipped to support you in various ways. Whether you require advice on a specific issue, additional resources due to capacity constraints, or a second opinion, we are here to help. Explore our legal counsel page for more information and details on our schedule of seminars, specifically designed for in-house counsel.

How we work with you

Whilst based in the South of England, Paris Smith acts for businesses and families throughout the UK. Technology has enabled us to provide a high level of service to our clients whether they are local to our offices or not. Our advice can be given in many ways:

  • Over the telephone
  • Via video conferencing
  • In face to face meetings

In our early conversations with you, We will talk through how you would like to be contacted and the best ways for us to meet with you.

Get in touch to speak with an expert.

Chambers Alternative 500

Introducing your key contacts

Clive Dobbin

Partner and Head of Employment, Southampton

David Roath

Partner – Employment Team, Winchester

How we’ve helped our clients

“Sarah was brilliant. Having to engage a solicitor is a bit scary for us who don’t do this very often and Sarah put my mind at ease because of her professionalism and very obvious comprehensive knowledge…. Her empathy was so reassuring for me and I really felt she had my back. I really hope I never have to go through the process again but if I did I would have absolutely no hesitation in engaging Sarah’s services again. Thank you all so much.”

Settlement Agreement client- May 2024

“Adam was really understanding, helpful and thorough. Put my mind at rest and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling.”

Settlement Agreement Client

“I would like to thank Claire Merritt for her prompt, considered and clear approach to my unplanned exit. Claire was able to rapidly assess options and suggest best solutions and timescales. I was able to meet Claire by phone, Teams and face to face. Thank you Claire and the Paris Smith team.”

Senior Retail Exit

“I just wanted to thank Sarah Hayes for her invaluable advice. She was very helpful, approachable and knowledgeable. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her.”

Richard Lloyd-Williams

“A personal note to say a big thank you for all your help with my SA. Throughout the whole process you provided sound, easy-to-understand advice on a sensitive subject and helped get me a fair outcome. Whilst I hope none of my colleagues find themselves in the same situation, if they did, I’d highly recommend you. ”

A Settlement Agreement Client

“I have received an impeccable service from Sarah Hayes. I have received clear, detailed information of the process, any question or doubt has been answered. Overall it’s been all smooth and has facilitated the unpleasant situation of being made redundant .”

Client – Settlement Agreement

“Paris Smith established my contractual rights and advised me on the settlement deal that I should be aiming for, taking into account my thoughts and concerns. The team were very aware of the stresses and pressure that this situation puts you under and allowed plenty of time for big decisions to be made. My company decided to seek a settlement agreement with me after very long service and the Paris Smith employment team was recommended to me through two colleagues who they had represented previously in similar circumstances. They responded very quickly and set up communications with my company’s legal representative. Paris Smith established my contractual rights and advised me on the settlement deal that I should be aiming for, taking into account my thoughts and concerns. The team were very aware of the stresses and pressure that this situation puts you under and allowed plenty of time for big decisions to be made. Theory were very clear when giving advice and ultimately a settlement was signed that I was very happy with. I would have no hesitation in recommending the Employment Team to anyone who finds themselves in conflict with their employer and requires legal representation. ”

Mrs SA

“I have received such a great service from Adam. His knowledge and professionalism was invaluable and he addressed every issue and question I had. I felt that I was listened to and supported throughout. Adam truly went above and beyond and I will definitely keep him in mind in the future should myself or any one else I know need an employment solicitor. ”

Finance Sector – Settlement Agreement

“Andrew represented me after my relationship with my employer had broken down irreparably and I had asked for a settlement agreement. Andrew listened to my case and gave a fair assessment on the strength of my claim, what evidence would be required, and advised on alternative options. He diplomatically articulated my grievances to my employer and skillfully negotiated, and secured, the best possible resolution for me which included a very favourable reference. He explained the law clearly to me, what my legal obligations were and answered all my questions in detail. I cannot thank Andrew enough for his professionalism, expertise, hard work and, above all, his empathy in what was a difficult time for me. The service I received was quick, attentive and represented great value for money. I would strongly recommend him to anyone in a similar position. ”

Name Withheld

“Adam clearly understood my concerns and provided excellent legal advice, in a timely manner. Good communicator who made sense of the legal jargon. What I thought would be a protracted process was concluded within 24 hours. Prompt and efficient.”

Retail Sector – Settlement Agreement

“I was recommended by a good friend to contact you. Was the best decision I could have made. You are a wonderful organisation with very talented and professional people. I received great guidance and support at all stages of the process. Thank you.”

Melanie Moses – Settlement Agreement

“From the moment I spoke to Clive he put my mind at ease and helped me really understand my case and where I stood. He managed my expectations well. He moved quickly and I had constant communication with himself and Sarah. They gave me strong and great advice and I really trust them and their opinion. Clive and his team pushed to get the best result for me and I felt very positive throughout the process. They acted quickly and came to a mutual agreement within the month. I would highly recommend Paris Smith to anyone in the same situation as myself. ”

Employee – Settlement Agreement

“Sarah was excellent, well informed and very helpful. ”

IH – Settlement Agreement

“Adam truly went above and beyond to secure a highly successful outcome. He provided vital and invaluable advice. Although many challenges were faced, Adam worked skilfully through each obstacle. He has a confident, extremely knowledgeable, and tactical approach, making him a shrewd negotiator. His calming, empathetic, supportive and kind presence was hugely valued. Adam was responsive and prompt, always making time for calls and updates. He listened and answered my many questions thoroughly, and I could always rely on his wise guidance. I simply cannot thank Adam enough”

AM – Settlement Agreement

“I found Sarah Hayes to be understanding of my situation and she provided a detailed analysis of my agreement. The analysis was broken down in to sections and the language used allowed me to understand the implications. Sarah had a pleasant disposition and I found her very professional and easy to deal with. I will certainly use Sarah again.”

Gary Barnard – Settlement Agreement

“My contact Sarah Hayes was very knowledgeable and supportive. I felt that she gave me maximum support for the available fee.”

Brigitte Rothfuss – Settlement Agreement

“My solicitor Andrew was fantastic! Highly knowledgeable but explained everything to me so simply, friendly, supportive and got me exactly what I wanted!”

SC – Settlement Agreement

“I asked for Adam’s help when I knew that I would be discussing a settlement agreement with my existing employer. He supported me during the process from start to end and he was a pleasure to deal with throughout. His advice and guidance gave me the confidence to negotiate the outcome that I hoped for, and his expertise helped me to understand and navigate some of the more complicated aspects of the agreement. I would thoroughly recommend Adam.”

Settlement Agreement – Digital Services Sector

“Meetings and communications/emails were very clear. Instructions were straightforward and explanations for rationale behind instructions also very clear. ”

Settlement Agreement Client

Settlement Agreements Resources


30th August 2019

A Guide To Settlement Agreements


30th August 2019

A Guide To Settlement Agreements

Employment Solicitor Sarah Hayes takes us through a guide to settlement agreements. Why are they beneficial? What should you need to know and what are the practical steps that need to be taken for them to be legally binding?

Show notes
00:28 What is a settlement agreement? Sarah defines what it means
00:48 What is the purpose of a settlement agreement and what will include
01:15 There are various benefits of having a settlement agreement – Sarah talks through what these are
02:00 How long does it take to agree the terms of a settlement agreement?
02:40 It is important to see a solicitor if you are issued with a settlement agreement – Sarah talks about how this works in practice
04:06 What happens if you want to negotiate the terms of your agreement and do you have to sign the agreement? Sarah explains in detail and what the implications are for you.
04:45 How do you know if you’re getting a fair deal?
05:30 What is the typical time frame for payments being made?


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