March 10, 2015

Exchange of emails is binding agreement

Shortly before trial the Claimants accepted a settlement offer made by email from the Defendant’s representatives which focused solely on the amount to be paid to the Claimants. The Claimants accepted, indicating in their reply that they would circulate a draft consent order, which the Defendants’ representatives acknowledged. Once a draft consent order arrived the Defendants representatives sent a Settlement Agreement to the Claimants providing an indemnity to the Defendant in the event of third party claims. The Claimants refused to sign the agreement.

After referring to established authority the Judge found that, objectively and considering the entire course of the negotiations, the parties had intended to reach a final and binding Settlement Agreement on the exchange of emails without the need to agree further terms.

An interesting case and one which flags up the need for any emails or correspondence offering settlement terms to be conditional upon the terms of a Settlement Agreement and not just focusing on the amount to be paid.

This legal update is provided for general information purposes only and should not be applied to specific circumstances without prior consultation with us.

For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222.

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