ACAS Early Conciliation Comes into Effect

17th March 2014
ACAS Early Conciliation Comes into Effect image

ACAS Early Conciliation Comes into Effect

Introduction

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”.

Process

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 daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com or write to Dav at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.


How Banks are Cashing in on Wills image

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills

Recent headlines have reported how banks are now cashing in on Wills.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, banks offered customers low cost Wills (or sometimes even free Wills) but the small print allowed the bank to charge extortionate rates to act as Executors. It is reported that banks are expecting billions of pounds of revenue from their Will writing services and administering estates and in some cases their fees have been over £12,000 to administer an estate as they look to charge a fixed fee PLUS a percentage of the deceased’s wealth.

If you or a loved one has made a Will through a bank we would urge you to check who you have appointed as Executors and check any small print which you may have signed. If you are unsure then please speak with one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate team who can look at your existing Will with you. It may be appropriate to make a new Will which revokes any previous Will you have made which could save your family thousands of pounds when your estate needs to be administered.

In the majority of cases, when someone has passed away we can provide the family with a quote of how much the legal fees will be so that there are no nasty surprises once the administration is complete.

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Testimonials

Gemma Mayer LLB

"I would highly recommend Maples Solicitors, especially Gemma Mayer, for any conveyancing work. The level of support and professionalism was excellent at all times. I also felt if I needed to ask or clarify anything that it was not an issue. Buying and selling a house is stressful enough, but Gemma helped me through it step by step."

Anita Toal LLB BA

"I think you are brilliant. You can use my comments above. You are efficient, friendly and quite clearly very good at what you do. Mainly you don’t leave people hanging around too long for." "So easy to talk to her and she understood what I wanted. She put me at ease and I cant thank her enough"

Daven Naghen LLB

"Daven provided an excellent service, from attending the first interview with me to the final court appearance. He filled me full of confidence that he would defend me to which he did and come out with an excellent outcome in view of my position that I had put myself in."

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

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

Mike Pepper gave us excellent advice. He was always most helpful and accommodating giving lucid explanations every step of the way. Thank you Mike.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!