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Government Consultation on Early Conciliation

The Government is consulting at the moment (and until 15th February) about their proposals for compulsory early conciliation efforts by claimants, whereby they will have to notify ACAS of intended tribunal claim in advance of lodging it.

Notification

A Claimant will need to give ACAS “prescribed information” with details of the proposed Respondent including full contact details. The 3-month limitation period  for commencing Tribunal proceedings will be suspended when ACAS receives the filled-in form.

First Stage Contact

ACAS officer will then contact the claimant by the end of next working day to discuss the process of conciliation and clarify any claimant misunderstandings about nature of claim. If the claimant cannot be contacted a certificate is made up by ACAS to effect that obligation of claimant to contact ACAS has been complied with. The limitation period then recommences.

During conciliation, a Claimant may then decide not to claim. The Claimant may however decide to press on, in which case the papers are passed to a conciliator for next stage.

Second Stage Contact

The Conciliator contacts the proposed Respondent within 2 working days. The Respondent can refuse to participate in conciliation, in which case a certificate is issued to conclude the ACAS involvement. The limitation period then restarts.

If Respondents agree to conciliation, the conciliator has 1month to reach a settlement. This can be extended by up to 2 weeks with agreement of parties.

If conciliation fails, the process ends and again a certificate is issued by ACAS to confirm conclusion. The limitation period again begins running when the certificate is issued by ACAS concluding their involvement.

Tribunal claim

Claimants lodging a claim will need to quote the ACAS conciliation ref number from the certificate issued by ACAS, failing which the claim will be dismissed at the outset.

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