Legislative Council Wednesday 25 March, 2020
Ms FORREST to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
My question follows-up on questions asked related to the practice/process around settlements reached, generally following a process of mediation leading up to the decision to offer, and accept, a settlement between an aggrieved party, whether a member of the public or public servant and a government department.
After the settlement has been agreed between the parties, and prior to the agreement being signed by the Solicitor-General, or his office, and the aggrieved party, are any conditions, if included, made clear at the time of agreement or are they included with the formal offer?
Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her question.
In the ordinary course, settlement (agreement) will be reached upon an offer being made and accepted. Sometimes that offer will follow a series of offers and counter-offers. At the point of the offer being made, whether by the state or the claimant, the essential terms are specified so that on acceptance the terms are known and set.
Sometimes the deed of settlement will simply reflect the agreement already reached. However, commonly an offer will be made subject to a deed being entered - the legal effect of this is that. Until the deed is entered there is no binding agreement.
In any event, the claimant is aware of all the essential terms of the offer prior to accepting same and entering any deed. Once there is a binding agreement, which is a contract, there can be no other terms imposed (although the parties are always free to mutually agree to vary the terms of the contract they have concluded).