Government Consultation on Early Conciliation

25th March 2013
Government Consultation on Early Conciliation image

Government Consultation on Early Conciliation

During the month of February the Government has been consulting on its proposed reforms for Early Conciliation (EC) in Employment Tribunal claims.

Currently, save for the risk of an adverse costs order for unreasonable conduct (which are quite rare), a Claimant in Tribunal proceedings is under no obligation to try and settle his or her claim with his or her employer. The Government believes that if a Claimant is forced to refer a matter to ACAS (an independent conciliator) prior to being allowed to issue proceedings, that more Claimants may try to negotiate and settle claims before issuing them (saving time and expense for everyone – including the Tribunals).

Under current proposals, save for a number of limited exceptions, the Claimant would not be able to commence a Tribunal claim unless he or she had referred the claim to ACAS for EC to be considered and this involves providing “prescribed information”. Although the Claimant would be under a duty to refer the matter to ACAS, he or she would be under no obligation to agree to undertake conciliation – the Claimant can still refuse to negotiate. However the referral to ACAS may persuade the Claimant to look into settlement before proceeding further.

If a Claimant refuses to agree to EC, then he or she can proceed with the Employment Tribunal claim. If the Claimant agrees to EC, the Respondent (namely the employer) can still refuse to negotiate. Like the Claimant, the Respondent would be under no obligation to negotiate (save for running the risk of an adverse costs order for unreasonable conduct).

If both parties agree, up to one month is allowed for EC (although it can be extended in certain circumstances). If settlement is reached it becomes binding, but if there is no settlement then the claimant can go off to the Tribunal.

The regulations will enable limitation periods to be extended to enable EC to take place.

Daven Naghen, head of our Employment Team thinks that these proposals are likely to be of some good to businesses as Dav says “Even though the Claimant will be under no obligation to negotiate, the referral to ACAS means the Claimant will be afforded the opportunity at an early stage to negotiate with the employer through an independent party. Some Claimants don’t negotiate prior to the issuing of proceedings as they are intimidated or frightened at the prospect of doing so with his or her employer especially as the employer is often considered to be at an advantage (as the employer may have access to legal advice or HR assistance/resources). Hence Claimants often wade into Tribunal proceedings, and then the parties can become entrenched in their position and the matter cannot be resolved by negotiation. By having to contact ACAS at an early stage, Claimants will have the opportunity to try and resolve the matter through an independent third party and I believe many Claimants would gladly want to pursue EC. Hence employers and businesses may be able to “nip matters in the bud” before expensive and time consuming Tribunal proceedings follow.

I am concerned about whether ACAS will have the resources to cope with EC if Claimants readily take it up, especially as there will only be a small window of time for negotiations.

It will also be interesting to see if Tribunals do make adverse costs orders against parties who refuse to engage in EC”.

If you want to know more about EC, or about resolving disputes at the work place 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.

Read More


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

This is the second time we have used Mike Pepper at Maples Solicitors in the sale of our house. We cannot praise Mike enough for the highly efficient and professional service that he has provided us with. He is by far the best solicitor we have ever worked with, and the service that he has provided us with has gone far and beyond anything we have ever experienced. We have found the whole process to be a very relaxing experience.

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!

Anita Zaborniak

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.