All types of claim can be settled in the Employment Tribunal through use of a COT3 form. This includes unfair dismissal claims and unlawful discrimination claims. If you’ve settled your Employment Tribunal claim through a COT3 form (or are thinking of doing so) then you’ll want to know how to enforce your settlement after ACAS has “rubber-stamped” it. This post will tackle the following issues:
- What a COT3 agreement is
- What types of COT3 agreement there are
- How to enforce the different types of COT3 agreement
What is a COT3 agreement?
A COT3 agreement is a settlement agreement reached through ACAS which is recorded on a COT3 form and signed, but is binding and effective as soon as it is verbally agreed. The parties generally agree the terms of the settlement prior to contacting ACAS but this does not necessarily have to be the case. Once the terms of the agreement have been finalised a copy is sent to ACAS and “rubber-stamped” by the ACAS representative. A copy is then sent out to each party.
What types of COT3 agreement are there?
There are two types of COT3 agreement:
Conditional COT3 agreements are agreements that specify that the Claimant as well as the Respondent has certain obligations relating to the agreement (i.e. to apologise to another member of staff or undertake certain training by a certain date). Conditional agreements are used less frequently than non-conditional COT3 agreements. The method for the enforcement of conditional COT3 agreements is slightly different to that of non-conditional agreements.
Non-conditional agreements, as is implied above, are agreements where only the Respondent has substantive obligations relating to the agreement (i.e. to pay a sum of money or re-employ the Claimant).
How are the different types of COT3 agreement enforced?
There are two main “methods” of enforcement of COT3 agreement
- Traditional method
- ACAS and Employment Tribunal Fast Track
There are two “stages” to the enforcing of COT3 agreements – firstly, the application to the Court and, secondly, the various means of enforcing of the award.
Applying to the Court
If a conditional agreement has been reached, the Claimant (or their representative) must complete and submit form N322A to the County Court local to the Respondent. If a non-conditional agreement has been reached then Form N322B must be used. Again, Form N322B must be sent to the County Court local to the Respondent. There is no cost to the Claimant in submitting the forms – the Court costs are added to the amount of the settlement.
Enforcing the award
After a number of weeks, the Court will send the Order to allow enforcement of the settlement terms back to the Claimant. Once the Claimant has received the Order they have a number of means of enforcement:
- Warrant of execution
- Attachment of earnings order
- Third party debt order
- Charging order
ACAS and Employment Tribunal Fast Track
This is an entirely different procedure. Under the ACAS and Employment Tribunal Fast Track means the Claimant sends to their local County Court:
- a completed copy of Form EX727; and
- a cheque for £60; and
- A copy of their COT3 agreement
A High Court Enforcement Officer will then be allocated to the Claimant’s case and will apply to the Court on the Claimant’s behalf for a writ of fi fa to recover the settlement sum. If the High Court Enforcement Officer is successful then the Claimant will receive the settlement sum (plus their £60 back and any interest that has accrued). If the High Court Enforcement Officer is unsuccessful then the Claimant will receive nothing.
Redmans Solicitors are London employment lawyers and Hammersmith employment lawyers, with their solicitors based in Richmond, London. They offer specialist no win no fee unfair dismissal advice and compromise agreement advice.