The ACAS early conciliation process can (and often does) mean that the time in which an individual must present an employment tribunal claim is extended by a month after the date of the early conciliation certificate (that is, if the ordinary time bar date falls within the one month early conciliation period).

The recent case of Tanveer v. East London Bus and Coach Company Limited [2016] has clarified what “a month” means in this context. There has been speculation about whether the extension of a month follows the “corresponding date” rule set by the House of Lords in Dodds v. Walker [1981] (a tenancy case). The “corresponding date” rule means the day of the month that bears the same number as the day of the earlier month, for example from 30 May to 30 June.

The Claimant in this case was dismissed on 20 March, went to ACAS on 18 June, was granted the ACAS early conciliation certificate on 30 June and presented the claim form on 31 July. The Tribunal dismissed the unfair dismissal claim because the claim was brought one day late, and so was out of time.

The Claimant appealed against this decision. The EAT held that the “corresponding date” rule applied and the time limit expired on the corresponding date of the following month. Therefore, it was held that the Claimant was required to present his claim by 30 July.

The decision is unsurprising given that the “corresponding date” rule has been consistently applied in respect of other time calculations, like notice periods for example, for a significant time. However, the HMCTS leaflet, ‘Making a claim to an employment Tribunal’ (now amended) previously set out a different view, and so it is helpful to have this clarification.