In the case of Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs -v- Serra Garau, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered how the time limit for a claim should be extended when ACAS has issued two early conciliation certificates for different periods and where the first period took place before the limitation period had commenced.
The EAT held that statute only requires one period of ACAS early conciliation and that the statutory provisions extending time limits to take account of early conciliation only apply to that one mandatory period. It therefore followed that, where a claimant commences a second period of early conciliation for the same matter, that second period of early conciliation did not extend time limits.
In addition, the EAT also resolved a conflict between different employment tribunal decisions and held that the extension of time provisions do not apply to any period of early conciliation which occurs prior to the start of a limitation period. The case therefore provides welcome clarity on how the extension of time limits should operate when all or part of the early conciliation period occurs before the primary limitation period beginning.