ACAS Early Conciliation Comes into Effect

17th March 2014
ACAS Early Conciliation Comes into Effect image

ACAS Early Conciliation Comes into Effect


With effect from 6th April 2014 new rules come into force regarding employees bringing a claim before an Employment Tribunal.  In essence before an employee can bring a claim, the employee must refer the matter to ACAS for “early conciliation”.


Early conciliation will be available from 6th April 2014 and will be compulsory for the majority of Tribunal claims on or after 6th April 2014.  If an employee tries to start an Employment Tribunal claim without first referring the matter to ACAS, then the Employment Tribunal will reject the claim.

  1. Stage One

The Employee needs to provide the “prescribed information” to ACAS, which basically is the name and address of the employee and the details of the employer. At this stage there is no requirement to provide information about the matter of the dispute.

  1. Stage Two

ACAS will make initial contact with the employee.  If after reasonable attempts ACAS cannot contact the employee, or the employee does not wish to proceed with conciliation, then a conciliation certificate will be issued so that the employee is free to bring the claim before an Employment Tribunal.

  1. Stage Three

If the employee has been contacted and wishes to proceed with conciliation, then with the employee’s consent ACAS will contact the employer.  If the employer does not want to participate, then the employee will be informed and a conciliation certificate will be issued so that the employee is free to bring an Employment Tribunal claim.  If both parties do want to try conciliation then ACAS has one calendar month within which to try and attempt settlement.  With the agreement of both parties this period can be extended by a further two weeks if ACAS believes that there is a reasonable prospect still of settlement.

  1. Stage Four

If a settlement is not reached within the conciliation period stated in Stage Three above, then ACAS must issue a conciliation certificate so that the employee can bring his claim before an Employment Tribunal.  If at any time during the conciliation period ACAS believes that it is not going to be possible to achieve a settlement then ACAS can issue a conciliation certificate.  Obviously when settlement is reached then ACAS will draw up an agreement.

  1. Limitation Periods

The conciliation period “stops the clock” for lodging Employment Tribunal claims, so that the time limit for bringing the claim will not expire whilst ACAS is attempting to conciliate.

Once a conciliation certificate is issued then the employee has at least four weeks from the date of the conciliation certificate to lodge a claim before an Employment Tribunal even if the limitation period would normally have expired before this.

Pros and Cons of Early Conciliation

Early conciliation allows potential claims to be resolved at an early stage, before parties have incurred costs and fees and before they become too embroiled and entrenched in the dispute.  Once Tribunal proceedings start it can be harder to achieve a settlement.  The early conciliation service is free of charge.

On the downside is 4 – 6 weeks going to be sufficient to resolve most disputes?  May be this will be sufficient for straight forward disputes but maybe it will not be sufficient for more complex/involved disputes especially involving allegations of discrimination/harassment.  This is because each side may need to investigate the allegations and also take legal advice as to the merits.

It is suspected that many employers may not be willing to settle a claim early, in order to “test the waters” in order to see if an employee will be prepared to pay a Tribunal fee to take the case further.

The rules on “stopping the clock” for limitation are only likely to create complications and disputes about whether a claim has been brought within time.

If you need any advice on early conciliation or any employment matter then please contact Daven Naghen on 01775 722261 or email or write to Dav at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.

The Will Writing Company Limited image

The Will Writing Company Limited

It has been reported that The Will Writing Company Limited, whose registered office is at Ergo House, Mere Way, Ruddington Fields Business Park, Nottingham, have ceased to practise.

If you made Wills using this company then it is probably worthwhile making contact with them in order to retrieve your Wills. Once you have your Wills you may wish to make an appointment with one of the lawyers in our Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney and Probate Team in order to review your Will to ensure it still accords with your wishes. We also offer a Will storage facility which is free of charge.

To review your Will please contact one of our lawyers in the Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate Department:-

Jane Mawer-
Jamie Dobbs-
Faye Blair-

Or telephone the office on 01775 722261 and ask to speak with one of the team.

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Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

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Claire Smith FCILEx

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We found it a pleasure to deal with Anita Zaborniak, she was most helpful and informative and kept us up to date with the progress of the purchase of our new home. If we were to move again we wouldn’t hesitate to use Maples again.