Here in the UK the only regional differences in settlement agreements are the normal rates for advice contained within them. In some regions the legal fees are £500 plus VAT as standard and the lowest I have seen recently just £200 plus VAT. The same cannot be said for the UK and Ireland. In Ireland, there is no statutory recognition of settlement agreements and much of the employment legislation precludes employees from waiving their rights.
In practice, however, these agreements are used regularly and provided they are subject to consideration in the normal way, contractually binding between the parties. Again, since they are not recognised there is no requirement for the employee to have independent legal advice on the agreement. However, in practice again this is commonplace or drafted into the agreement to give the employee the option even if they do not use it.
There are many differences between the law of Ireland and the UK but this is one key difference. There has been a rise of settlement agreements in the last few months from both my experience and that of other employment lawyers I have spoken to after a reduction in settlements post July when the compromise agreement turned into the settlement agreement. I only speculate that this may have been due to some confusion amongst employers about what the difference was and how to have that protected conversation.