What is a deed of release and why you need one in settling disputes – Arbitration & Dispute Resolution

18 February 2024

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A Deed of Release, in Australian law, is a legal do،ent that
signifies the agreement between two parties to release each other
from certain obligations or claims.

This type of deed is often used in various contexts, like in family law, it could be related to property,
and settlement of disputes.

How long is a Deed of Release valid?

A Deed of Release is typically valid indefinitely once it has
been properly executed unless it is specifically revoked or
superseded by a newer agreement. It does not usually have an expiry

The obligations and releases specified in the deed remain
effective until all the terms and conditions outlined in the deed
have been fulfilled. However, the specific duration can also depend
on the terms and conditions of the deed.

Can a Deed of Release be revoked or altered?

Once a Deed of Release is executed, it is legally binding and
generally cannot be revoked or altered unilaterally. Any changes or
revocation typically require the consent of all parties

However, parties might seek legal avenues to challenge it if a
Deed of Release was signed under coercion, undue influence, misrepresentation, abusive
negotiations, or fraud.

Also, if there is a mistake in the deed, a court might set it
aside. In summary, altering or revoking a Deed of Release is not
straightforward and usually involves legal proceedings or mutual
agreement of all parties involved. It is always best to seek the
help of an experienced family lawyer during times like

What are common mistakes to avoid when drafting a Deed of
Release in family law disputes?

When drafting a Deed of Release in family law disputes, common
mistakes to avoid include:

  1. Unclear Language: Using ambiguous or ،ue
    terms that can lead to misunderstandings or disputes later on.

  2. Inaccurate Definitions: Not properly defining
    the parties involved or the key terms of the agreement.

  3. Overlooking Potential Claims: Failing to
    consider all possible claims that might be relevant in the family
    law context.

  4. Neglecting Legal Advice: Not seeking
    professional legal advice to ensure the deed is comprehensive and
    compliant with legal standards.

  5. Ignoring Confidentiality: Not including or
    respecting confidentiality clauses, which might be crucial in
    sensitive family matters.

  6. Invalid Correspondence of Laws: Failure to
    ensure that the deed complies with the relevant legal requirements
    or jurisdictional laws.

These mistakes can lead to complications and might render the
Deed of Release ineffective or disputable in the future.

Deed of Release vs Settlement Agreement

A Deed of Release and a Settlement Agreement are both used to
resolve disputes, but they have distinct purposes and

Deed of Release

Used after a dispute has been resolved, a Deed of Release is a
binding do،ent that prevents any future claims on the same
matter. One party relinquishes all claims a،nst the other for
specified compensation or consideration. It doesn’t require
mutual consideration to be enforceable and offers a definitive

Settlement Agreement

Used to resolve ongoing disputes, a Settlement Agreement often
involves a compromise to avoid further legal action. It’s a
more extensive contract that outlines conditions to settle the
dispute, typically entered into while the dispute is active.

The c،ice between the two depends on the stage and nature of
the dispute.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice s،uld be sought
about your specific cir،stances.

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