A deed of release is a legal document that settles a dispute. It releases each party from any further obligations regarding the dispute and sets out the details of how the dispute is to be settled.
Deeds of release are used in many different circumstances, such as after car accidents or to resolve business disputes. The signing of a deed of release means that going to court is not necessary. It is a useful way to avoid litigation.
Even if a court case has been started, parties to the case can still draw up and sign a deed of release if they now wish to settle the dispute and avoid any future legal action. In its basic format, a deed of release contains the date and the parties’ names followed by three sections called ‘Recitals,’ ‘Operative Part’ and ‘Execution.’ The ‘Recitals’ section includes the background information and explains the dispute between the parties. The ‘Operative Part’ comes next.
This is where the agreement is described, as well as what the effect of that agreement is. The ‘Operative Part’ can be written in sections titled ‘Settlement of claim,’ ‘Definitions,’ ‘Confidentiality,’ ‘Taxes’ and ‘Proper law and jurisdiction.’ The ‘Settlement of claim’ sets out the terms of settlement, such as who will pay what. ‘Proper law and jurisdiction’ describes the state or territory law that applies to the deed of release.
The ‘Operative Part’ can also include information about what will happen if one party does not meet their obligations as per the deed. Finally, the ‘Execution’ is where both parties sign the deed of release. Signatures usually need to be witnessed. It is important for each person to keep a copy for their records.