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Unsure of your equality rights or the law? We can provide advice and assistance for people who feel they have been discriminated against.

Settling your claim before the hearing


What you need to know

The fact that the case is listed for hearing does not preclude the parties settling the case before or on the day of the hearing.  Many and indeed most tribunal cases rather than proceed to a hearing are resolved before the hearing.

It might be the case that the negotiations between you and the Respondent on the morning of the hearing are actually getting somewhere and in that case you might wish to ask the tribunal to postpone the commencement of the hearing for a short time (for example, 30 minutes), to carry out the negotiations.  You should communicate this to the Tribunal Clerk who will then pass your request to the tribunal.

Negotiations and settling the claim

Typically negotiations on claims are settled when in return for compensation, and/or an apology you agree to withdraw your claim.  It might be helpful if you pre-prepare a draft settlement agreement or as it is known ‘Compromise Agreement’, setting out the terms you want included as this means you will be prepared for face-to-face negotiation with the Respondent. 

Some help in settling a claim can be gained from reading the Equality Commission’s Decisions and Settlements Review, which outlines the terms on which cases assisted by the Commission were decided or settled in that particular year.  Link to publications – is this still possible?

Typically, claims are settled when in return for compensation and/or an apology you agree to withdraw your claim.

The basis on which you settle a case is entirely up to you.  The following are examples for your consideration:
  • a sum of money;
  • an apology; and / or
  • a commitment by the Respondent to undertake certain changes in the workplace.

Each settlement is unique and depends upon what the parties are prepared to agree.  It might be the case, for example, that the Respondent is content to give you a relatively sizeable sum of money but is strongly opposed to admitting liability or making an apology. 

In order to decide whether or not you should settle your case before hearing, you should have some idea about what you might expect to receive from a tribunal if your case is successful.  This will help you to decide on what would be an appropriate compromise settlement.  Refer to Tribunal decisions, what happens next?, for information on tribunal compensation.

Your duty to mitigate your loss

Even if you have been unlawfully discriminated against you still have a duty to try and limit the extent of your loss.  You cannot ‘sit back’ as it were and do nothing simply because you are the one who was badly treated.  You have a duty to ‘mitigate your loss’ (i.e. reduce the effect of your loss) by seeking alternative employment.  If you do not do this, it may affect the amount of compensation that you will be awarded.

We have settled the claim what do I do next?

If the claim is settled then the usual practice is to announce to the tribunal, in a formal way, that the matter has been settled and ask for the claim to be ´stayed´ for a number of weeks, usually 6, to allow implementation of the settlement.  If, for some reason, the settlement is not implemented then the claim can still be pursued.  However, this would be a very rare situation.

When both parties are in agreement, the Respondent will require you to sign the Compromise-Agreement, which is evidence that the claim has been settled and prevents you bringing it again at a later date.  Be careful when settling a case that you don’t agree to waive any other rights that you might have against the Respondent, such as claims for industrial injuries and ensure that you are only settling your discrimination claim. 

What happens if negotiations break down?

Negotiations about settling a case are carried out on a ‘without prejudice’ basis.  This means that if the negotiations break down then the substance of what is said in negotiations cannot be repeated before the Tribunal.

Conciliation role of the Labour Relations Agency

When a case is lodged the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) contacts both parties offering both sides the services of the LRA to help conciliate the dispute without the need for a full hearing. The LRA may also, with the agreement of all parties, become involved in a dispute prior to a case being lodged in the Tribunal.  If you have a legal representative at this stage, it is important that you let the representative know if you are considering conciliation.

For more on the conciliation role of the LRA you can visit their website
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