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ACAS Settlements

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[Thanks to James Medhurst of Employment Law Advocates for providing this case summary]

The EAT has handed down its decision in Allma Construction v Bonner, which is authority for the proposition that, in deciding whether a settlement has been concluded through ACAS, it is irrelevant whether the ACAS officer believes that a settlement has been reached or whether there are terms which have not been agreed that would normally be included in a COT3 agreement.

The consultant of the respondent communicated an offer directly to the solicitor of the claimant to settle the case for £1,000. The solicitor of the claimant indicated acceptance of the offer through an ACAS officer but did not say that the contract was subject to agreement of the wording of a COT3.

On the facts, it was held that a binding settlement had been reached. It is only necessary for the essentials of a contract to be agreed and this may consist of no more than an agreement that a sum of money be paid to bring litigation to an end. The ACAS officer had done enough to have "taken action" for the purposes of section 203 of the Employment Rights Act and, therefore, there was no need for the parties to enter into a written compromise agreement.