Advice does not have to include whether deal is a good
In McWilliam & Others v Glasgow
City Council, the vice-president of the Scottish Employment Tribunals ruled
that while an employee must have the benefit of independent legal advice for a
compromise agreement to be valid, the advice need not go as far as enabling the
employee to make an informed decision as to whether to accept or reject the
Glasgow Council were faced with
10,000 equal pay claims. It arranged with local law firms that they advise the
female employees concerned. It then offered compromise agreements, on the basis
that the solicitors would act for these employees as their independent legal
advisers. The solicitors advised staff about the effect of compromise
agreements, but made it clear they could not give advice on whether or not the
deal was a good one. Some employees attempted to bring equal pay claims, even
though compromise agreements had been signed.
Walker (vice-president of the Scottish Employment Tribunals) ruled that the
tribunal had no jurisdiction. There is no requirement that advice given must
include such advice as to allow the employee to make an informed decision.
While such advice may be desirable, the legislation simply requires that the
claimant is advised what the terms of the compromises agreement are and what
they mean. It is not necessary for the solicitors to advise the individuals on
whether it was a “good deal” for them.
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