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ACAS Early Conciliation

Napthens - March 5th 2014

From 6 April 2014, anyone who wants to make an Employment Tribunal claim will need to contact ACAS before presenting it to the Tribunal. The claimant must prepare and submit a form to ACAS, which will be known as “Early Conciliation”. ACAS will then contact the claimant to collate further details and to offer conciliation.

If early conciliation is taken up, ACAS will offer early conciliation for one calendar month (extendable by up to two weeks) to negotiate settlement. If conciliation is refused or fails, ACAS will issue a certificate allowing the claimant to submit a claim to the Tribunal.

Early conciliation will “stop the clock” on the time period for a claimant to submit their claim. Time will only start to run again once a certificate has been issued by ACAS. This means time limits for most claims will be three months plus the time during which ACAS conciliates.

While the requirement for a claimant to contact ACAS before they bring Tribunal proceedings will be mandatory, the decision whether to accept the offer of conciliation will be voluntary. Prospective defendants can also decline to take part.

In the event that a claim is submitted, post-claim conciliation through ACAS will still be available in the same way as it is currently.

Only time will tell exactly how conciliation will take shape.  ACAS has stated that the precise arrangements for the new service will be a “work in progress” which will need to be modified “in light of experience”.