Settlement agreements; the essential elements

A settlement reached orally by parties to an unfair dismissal case, in this case during a conciliation conference, will if all of the other elements for a concluded contract are present (for example certainty) will be perfectly valid and binding and does not need to be in writing to be enforceable. See Csontos v QT Hotels & Resorts Pty Ltd (2016) FWC 3632.
The various types of legal categorization of such agreement were identified by the High Court in Masters v Cameron (1954) 91 CLR 353 at 360 thus:
1. The parties have agreed on all terms and intend to be immediately bound to perform those terms, “but at the same time purpose to have the terms of their bargain restated in a form which will be fuller or more precise but not different in effect”.
2. The parties have agreed on all terms and intend no departure from, or addition to, that which the agreed terms express or imply, “but nevertheless have made performance of one or more of the terms conditional upon the execution of a formal document”.
3. The parties do not intend “to make a concluded bargain at all, unless and until they execute a formal contract”.