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Giving an Undertaking

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 31 Jul 2016 |
 
Undertaking Promise Agreement Court

In some circumstances, it is appropriate to give an ‘undertaking’ to act or not to act in a particular way. An undertaking is a means by which you promise to do something, but it is a legally binding promise and there are consequences in the event that you break it.

Undertaking Examples

An example would be if A sought an injunction against B because B was intending to use A’s confidential information in relation to a business deal. If A and B were able to come to some kind of an agreement without having to go to the High Court for a full hearing, part of the terms upon which they might agree could be that B gives an undertaking that he would promise not to use the confidential information.

Providing such an undertaking does not mean that B would be in effect admitting some past wrong conduct, (the intention to misuse the confidential information)or accepting any other kind of liability. It does however mean that if B then goes on to break the undertaking he will be dealt with as though he had broken a court order.

Domestic Undertakings

Undertakings are frequently used in family law cases in which the court does not consider there to be a need for a full injunction. Undertakings are not used for serious domestic violence cases or in situations in which a mother or child may be at risk of significant harm.

However, in less dangerous cases the defendant (partner against whom the injunction would be sought) can be given notice to come to court (at least two days notice is required) and give an undertaking about his or her behaviour that would prevent any recurring problems in the past. Again, there is no requirement for any blame to be apportioned, although undertakings are not always appropriate in very serious family cases.

Breaking an Undertaking

An undertaking should never be given lightly and you should only agree to this kind of promise if you are sure that you are capable of keeping to the terms of the agreement. If you do not, you may be subject to a committal order. A committal order is an order of the civil court that has the effect of sending you to prison. However, it is important to note that breaking an undertaking in this way does not entitle the police to a Power of Arrest, nor is there a criminal offence for breaking an undertaking.

Procedure

If you are a party to proceedings and it is you who is giving the undertaking you must record the undertaking in writing. A copy must be given to the other side, either by hand, post or through their lawyer. If this is not possible, the court officer can deliver the undertaking to the party for whose benefit the undertaking has been given, so that they can serve it without delay. (County Court Rule 29 1A).

Solicitor Giving an Undertaking

It is common practice between solicitors to give undertakings to other solicitor’s firms, to courts, and other public bodies. For example, if a court requires original documents before it can fix a hearing date, a solicitor may fax the documents to court with a written undertaking to send the originals by first class post. Often the court will proceed as though they are in possession of the originals, on the strength of this undertaking. Note that the solicitor is not promising that the original documents will be in the court’s possession the next day – as whether that occurs relies on the postal service and is out of the solicitor’s control.

A Note on Undertakings

Undertakings drafted into contracts aren’t as a general rule enforceable. To have a party sign an undertaking that they will in effect adhere to the terms of the contract and not challenge them at a later stage is therefore not advisable.

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Guggis - Your Question:
I ex-partner want to collect my daughter out from me because of benefit, my partner hold dictionary leave remain, and I don't have stators, because of he convince the social work, and their joined tram against me, to collect my daughter from me, my ex-partner didn't Care my daughter, but because of benefit and want stay, he want collect my daughter out from me, the man round away from me when was pregnant, he disappear she 9 weeks. I was delivered a lon, on till 3 months later before he came back began me covered me to coming to joined him, when I and my daughter came to joined him, and he started appeared benefit, gorvnment paid house including council tax, when he started crimes that benefit , and started beaten house areast and he told me that he don't needs me he want my daughter, and he trecten me that if I don't like I given him my daughter and go whether ways he killed me and cut me into pieces and throw me to direst being, even police cannot investigation my body, later on the man luck me and daughter out, and he sent me into court, not he didn't take my daughter , and am not corefiying public funds, and am not working, the man also didn't take my daughter care, the social work also treat me the under section 20 collect my daughter, the social work Harris me and treat me very bad, she leasing to my ex-partner as well, my daughter is 4 years now the social work want 4 years child going to spending three days per every week, mean why the man is very dranker , and every body knows weeks and people enjoyed, In case the drinking, what about safety about you child, and the man leaving a lon, I told the social work and adimmistration but still their not leasing to me, and I fell fear with my child, please I having the next court please I need advice from people, because in case my child going to spending days to the my ex-partner, and some thing happen to her, the social work can denie ( I need advice for my next court, because I don't have money taken the lawyer)

Our Response:
You may be able to get some free legal advice from the Coram Children's Legal Centre here . Also, Family Lives here will be able to give you free advice on the emotional trials you are going through. I hope this helps.
ContractsAndAgreements - 1-Aug-16 @ 10:08 AM
I ex-partner want to collect my daughter out from me because of benefit, my partner hold dictionary leave remain, and I don't have stators, because of he convince the social work, and their joined tram against me, to collect my daughter from me, my ex-partner didn't Care my daughter, but because of benefit and want stay, he want collect my daughter out from me, the man round away from me when was pregnant, he disappear she 9 weeks. I was delivered a lon, on till 3 months later before he came back began me covered me to coming to joined him, when I and my daughter came to joined him, and he started appeared benefit, gorvnment paid house including council tax, when he started crimes that benefit , and started beaten house areast and he told me that he don't needs me he want my daughter, and he trecten me that if I don't like I given him my daughter and go whether ways he killed me and cut me into pieces and throw me to direst being, even police cannot investigation my body, later on the man luck me and daughter out, and he sent me into court, not he didn't take my daughter , and am not corefiying public funds, and am not working, the man also didn't take my daughter care, the social work also treat me the under section 20 collect my daughter, the social work Harris me and treat me very bad, she leasing to my ex-partner as well, my daughter is 4 years now the social work want 4 years child going to spending three days per every week, mean why the man is very dranker , and every body knows weeks and people enjoyed, In case the drinking, what about safety about you child, and the man leaving a lon, I told the social work and adimmistration but still their not leasing to me, and I fell fear with my child, please I having the next court please I need advice from people, because in case my child going to spending days to the my ex-partner, and some thing happen to her, the social work can denie ( I need advice for my next court, because I don't have money taken the lawyer)
Guggis - 31-Jul-16 @ 3:03 AM
I ex-partner want to collect my daughter out from me because of benefit, my partner hold dictionary leave remain, and I don't have stators, because of he convince the social work, and their joined tram against me, to collect my daughter from me, my ex-partner didn't Care my daughter, but because of benefit and want stay, he want collect my daughter out from me, the man round away from me when was pregnant, he disappear she 9 weeks. I was delivered a lon, on till 3 months later before he came back began me covered me to coming to joined him, when I and my daughter came to joined him, and he started appeared benefit, gorvnment paid house including council tax, when he started crimes that benefit , and started beaten house areast and he told me that he don't needs me he want my daughter, and he trecten me that if I don't like I given him my daughter and go whether ways he killed me and cut me into pieces and throw me to direst being, even police cannot investigation my body, later on the man luck me and daughter out, and he sent me into court, not he didn't take my daughter , and am not corefiying public funds, and am not working, the man also didn't take my daughter care, the social work also treat me the under section 20 collect my daughter, the social work Harris me and treat me very bad, she leasing to my ex-partner as well, my daughter is 4 years now the social work want 4 years child going to spending three days per every week, mean why the man is very dranker , and every body knows weeks and people enjoyed, In case the drinking, what about safety about you child, and the man leaving a lon, I told the social work and adimmistration but still their not leasing to me, and I fell fear with my child, please I having the next court please I need advice from people, because in case my child going to spending days to the my ex-partner, and some thing happen to her, the social work can denie ( I need advice for my next court, because I don't have money taken the lawyer)
Guggis - 30-Jul-16 @ 11:22 PM
My Ex partner has applied for and been granted a temp protection order. I opposed it because it was frivolous and not necessary. She has now decided she doesn't want to go to a hearing and will drop the order if I sign an "undertaking" which basically says must comply with all the conditions of a protection order without there actually being an order. I don't want to contact or see this woman again - but I don't want to be marked indirectly with this threat of action against me hanging over my head. Im tempted to decline to sign the Undertaking and refer back to court. Im happy for there to be a hearing because I do not believe an order will be granted by the court. Thoughts? My main objection is where if I am complying with all the rules of a PO, I have to depart any premise she happens to enter and I am there. Not fair and I would resist that.
Boomie - 7-Jul-16 @ 2:50 PM
Hi i am trying to find how to have an undertaking removed from a court order. I made one with the court that i would not allow my daughters contact with my current partner until social services had completed their assessments this has all be sone but i dont seem to be able to find the information on how to remove it
Sebbie - 9-Apr-16 @ 2:55 PM
Hi there Recently, Court had an undertaking from my ex's new wife to present when my children are with the ex, however on 2 occasion she wasn't there and I have decided that I am not going to sent my children again.I don't havea solicitor, is there anything to solve this problem as this will be a breach from my side.
Lotus - 26-Dec-15 @ 3:48 PM
Hi. Can anyone help me with the following. My husband was not good enough to be a husband and attempted to physical abuse on several occasions and threatening with object. Now he realised that his behaviour was completely wrong and asked me to give him a chance and willing to give an undertaking to me or my parents that he would not done this and and apologies for past happened. Would the undertakingbe valid and whether I can used it against him if he break the undertaking.
ash - 29-Nov-15 @ 11:21 PM
@tez - A breach (without reasonable excuse) of an order may be seen as a criminal offence under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act. Speak with your solicitor who will advise. The breach may actually happen accidentally, but even if it happens accidentally you could find yourself in court - therefore prevention is always better than cure.
Aid - 21-Sep-15 @ 2:06 PM
Hi, My younger brother has mental health issues and last year convinced a solicitor that I meant to harm him.he wanted a non molestation order and I was called to court.His accusations were so lengthy that my solicitor advised me go for dismissal due to my not being able to afford legal help.My brother agreed to undertakings which I signed to avoid any further stress.One of the agreements was to stay 200m away from anywhere he is residing.This is fine as he lives 300miles away..however he is staying with my other brother this Christmas..he lives in my area and within a short distance to my local shopping area.How do I stand on this...I love my brother dearly and this upsets me not to contact him but have to live with that but how will this effect me legally if our paths should cross.I cant stop him visiting but so stressed if our paths cross and he acuses me of something.Please advise..thank you.
tez - 20-Sep-15 @ 5:35 PM
@Maddy - you would need to seek legal advice on this matter, or contact the police directly if you have evidence to prove this to be the case.
ContractsAndAgreements - 4-Aug-15 @ 10:57 AM
I'm the mother trying to defend my daughter from a pedophile ring, the judge in court took an undertaking from the applicant (wanting to take my daughter away and have PR) and has broken that undertaking. I'm really worried and feel that this man is going to make a move on my daughter. What can I do?
Maddy - 1-Aug-15 @ 8:46 AM
@Eddie- as specified in the article an undertaking should never be given lightly and you should only agree to this kind of promise if you are sure that you are capable of keeping to the terms of the agreement. Regardless of the size and stature of the letter, company A would have a case, should company B decide to renage on the terms signed in the agreement.
ContractsAndAgreements - 7-Jan-15 @ 11:37 AM
Hi I am in a midst of a business transaction (Sale and purchase of a company - A and buyer). Company A in its management accounts, says that it has payable to Company B. However Company B gives a letter of Undertaking to the Buyer that it will ever claim from the Buyer. If this letter of undertaking is a simple 1 page letter, I would like to understand how strong it is, to legally enforce the undertaking should there be a breach by Company B. Please advice. Thanks
Eddie - 7-Jan-15 @ 7:55 AM
@marikarose, have you contacted the CAB as they will be able to offer free advice with regards to civil cases. I think you're right about legal aid not being available for civil cases but the CAB will be able to tell you if it is or not and if you'd be eligible for it.
unicorn - 14-Jul-14 @ 11:34 AM
I gave undertaking to high court in 2010.to not sell my home without informing my solicitor.my former partner was found guilty of not finishing a job for client.i was not part of this business.but accused of taking partners name off the deeds to my home.the problem is the creditor never made my former partner bankrupt. I am sruggling to pay debts left from former partner and need some conclusion to all this.my solicitor doesn't want to know.i am under stress through this being 70 yrs old and living off state pension only. where can I go for help please.as I cant carry on like this any longer.please help.can I get legal aid as im told this is being stopped for civil cases.how long can this ressriction be kept on my home. margaret
marikarose - 13-Jul-14 @ 10:39 AM
Can a Barraster provide an undertaking to guarantee, on behalf of a client,that a loan will be repaid within a set period of tme to a third party and if such undertaking is provided what redress would there be if the funds are not repaid.
Arkitech - 13-Sep-12 @ 2:57 PM
I obtained an Undertaking from the Court that the Landlords of this Mobile Home site would not harass, or get anyone else to harass me etc.This was a few years ago.The extent of the harassment has stopped but certain bullying and discrimination towards me still persists which I look upon as further harassment.Do I have to go back to the Court which issued the Undertaking to get this further harassment to stop and are there certain types of harassment that are considered worse than other types?If so what types of further harassment would the Court need evidence of and do I need to enlist the help of a Solicitor again?Thank you
Jeannie - 21-Jun-12 @ 5:10 PM
My former wife's Trustees gave an undertaking during our divorce, and then afterward refused to honour it, because they said they didn't sign it. I kept my part.
Mark - 31-Mar-11 @ 2:21 PM
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