Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Minutes of Settlement Definition:

A formal record of a contract which settles one or more live issues before a Court.

Related Terms: Consent Order

The formal record of an agreement which resolves in whole or in part, litigation and which, typically but not necessarily, is then presented to the Court to be incorporated into a consent order.

Sometimes, during or just before trial, an agreement on one or all issues before a court is arrived at between the parties, usually as a result of out-of-court discussions. That agreement is then written-up and presented to all parties and their lawyers for signature; this contract is known as the minutes of settlement.

Then, the contract reflecting the settlement (a.k.a., minutes of settlement) is read into the Court record or presented to the judge with a request for a consent order following the terms of the minutes of settlement. It is even done, in some jurisdictions, by the simple attachment and reference to the actual contract between the parties, to the Court order but the more usual course of action is to have the minutes of settlement put into a formal court order which is stated to be "by consent" and which is endorsed by the judge and, as to confirm the consents, by the parties or their lawyers.

In Ruskin v Chutskoff, minutes of settlement signed after a prolonged pre-trial conference. The contract was subsequently challenged by one of the parties when the Minutes of Settlement were presented to the Court to be converted into an order of the Court which, if one party reneges on the Minutes of Settlement, is the correct course of action; i.e. the endorsing order does not necessarily have to be by consent. Indeed, Justice Bayda upheld the application for an order incorporating the Minutes of Settlement, adding, at ¶22:

"Minutes of settlement in a court proceeding constitute a contract.  Generally speaking, the ordinary law of contracts should apply to such a contract."

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