Should I Sign a Tomlin Order?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Key Takeaways:

  • A Tomlin Order protects your job and keeps terms confidential.
  • It lets you get back legal costs more easily than a consent order.
  • But Tomlin Orders are not for small payments.
  • Ask a lawyer if a Tomlin Order is right for your case.

What is a Tomlin Order?

A Tomlin Order is a special court order. It is used in civil court cases in England and Wales.

Civil cases are legal disputes between people or companies. They are not criminal cases.

With a Tomlin Order, the people in the case agree on terms. This is instead of going to trial. The terms go in a schedule attached to the order.

Either side can go back to court if the terms are not followed. They do not need to start a new case.

Tomlin Orders avoid a trial. The order stays or pauses the case. As long as both sides stick to the terms, the case is over.

How is a Tomlin Order Different from a Consent Order?

A consent order is similar. The people in a civil case agree on terms and the court approves it.

But with a Tomlin Order, the terms stay private. The schedule with terms is not filed in court records.

Tomlin Orders also make it easier to get legal costs back. The court has more reason to award costs.

Consent orders work for small payments. But Tomlin Orders are not necessary for small sums.

When is a Tomlin Order a Good Idea?

Tomlin Orders can be a good choice in the right situation. Here are examples:

To Protect Your Job

Losing a court case could cost you your job. Your employer may let you keep working if the case stays private.

A Tomlin Order avoids publicity. Your work is not affected by the outcome of the case.

To Keep Terms Confidential

Businesses may want to keep trade secrets or dealings private. Individuals may want privacy too.

The schedule of terms in a Tomlin Order is not part of public court records.

To Recover Legal Costs

Tomlin Orders make it easier to get legal costs back from the other side.

The court has a stronger reason to award costs. The order avoided the need for a trial.

With a consent order, getting costs is harder to justify.

When You Want Flexibility

The terms of a Tomlin Order can be changed later if both sides agree. Just apply to the court again.

Once a consent order is sealed by the court, the terms are fixed.

When are Tomlin Orders Not Appropriate?

Tomlin Orders are not the best option in every case. Here are times to avoid them:

For Small Settlement Amounts

If the settlement is a small sum, a Tomlin Order is not necessary. The work and legal fees are not worth it.

A simple consent order will do for a small payment amount.

When Job Protection is Not Needed

These orders are meant to avoid publicity that could risk someone’s job.

If confidentiality and job protection are not concerns, a consent order works fine.

When the Case is Not Complex

Tomlin Orders are more fitting for complex civil disputes. They have detailed terms.

For straightforward cases, a consent order or out-of-court settlement may be better.

When You Want Finality

Consent orders provide finality once approved by the court. The terms cannot change.

With a Tomlin Order, the terms could be altered later by another court order.

What Should I Consider Before Agreeing to a Tomlin Order?

Tomlin Orders can be useful but they are not right for every situation. Think about these factors:

Will It Protect My Job or Reputation?

If your career or reputation may suffer due to the case, a Tomlin Order provides confidentiality.

But if privacy is not an issue, then a Tomlin Order may not be necessary.

Do I Want Flexibility with the Terms?

Think about whether you may want to revisit the terms later. Tomlin Orders allow changes if both sides agree.

Consent orders provide permanent terms, with no option to alter them.

Am I Trying to Recover Legal Costs from the Other Side?

A key benefit of Tomlin Orders is the stronger basis to claim legal costs. Consent orders do not provide the same justification.

If recovering your costs is important, a Tomlin Order helps.

Is My Case Complex Enough to Justify It?

These orders are more fitting for intricate civil disputes. Simpler settlements may not require the extra work.

Will It Delay Finality?

Consent orders provide permanent closure once court approved. Tomlin Orders could allow the case to be re-opened later.

If you want to put the matter behind you, a consent order may be preferable.

What Questions Should I Ask My Lawyer?

If you are considering a Tomlin Order, ask your solicitor these key questions:

Is a Tomlin Order Appropriate for My Specific Case?

Explain your situation and priorities. Your solicitor can advise if a Tomlin Order is suitable.

What Are the Benefits vs. Drawbacks in My Circumstances?

Discuss the pros and cons with your lawyer. Make sure you understand how it could help or hurt.

What Exact Terms Would Be Included in the Schedule?

Review the proposed terms in detail. Make sure you agree with what would be ordered.

How Does It Compare to Reaching a Settlement or Consent Order?

Consider alternatives to weigh your options. A settlement or consent order may be better.

Will It Successfully Protect My Job or Reputation?

Be sure confidentiality will prevent any harm to your work or reputation.

Does It Improve My Chances of Recovering Legal Costs?

Check if a Tomlin Order strengthens the basis for getting costs from the other party.

Can the Terms Be Changed Later On?

Discuss flexibility of terms and if they could be revisited down the road.


Tomlin Orders allow civil cases to conclude without a trial. The terms stay confidential so jobs and reputations are protected.

They provide a stronger claim for recovering legal costs. But they are more fitting for complex cases, not simple disputes.

Consider your priorities and situation. Ask your solicitor if a Tomlin Order is the right choice for your circumstances.

With legal advice, you can make an informed decision about whether to agree to a Tomlin Order. The outcome will resolve your case fairly while protecting your interests

About The Author

Scroll to Top