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Friday 25 April 2014

What is the Acas early conciliation procedure?

 The Acas early conciliation procedure became available on 6 April 2014 and must be followed by claimants who present claims in the majority of Employment Tribunal proceedings on or after 6 May 2014.  The new procedure imposes a duty on parties who wish to pursue Employment Tribunal claims to attempt early conciliation of most employment disputes before a tribunal claim can be issued.

There are three mandatory steps to the early conciliatory procedure:

1. The prospective Claimant must provide the proscribed information to Acas on an early conciliation form or by telephoning Acas.
2. An Acas early conciliation support officer will then contact the prospective Claimant, checking that they wish to proceed with conciliation.  If so, information will be sent to an Acas conciliation officer.
3. The Acas conciliation officer will contact the prospective claimant to discuss their claim and to check that they agree that the conciliation officer can contact the prospective opponent.  The conciliation officer will try to promote a settlement within a period of one month by communicating with both parties.

If it is not possible to contact the parties or they do not wish to participate in early conciliation, an early conciliation certificate will be issued.  An early conciliation certificate will also be issued if the parties participate in conciliation but are unable to reach an agreement.  Once a certificate is issued the Claimant can file their claim with the Employment Tribunal.

The limitation periods for claims will be extended to take account of the early conciliation period.

If you would like more advice or to arrange a free initial consultation please contact, David Coward.