As part of its drive to reform the employment tribunal system, the Government has issued details of its plans for mandatory pre-claim conciliation, which will be introduced through the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill and new regulations.
With limited exceptions, prospective claimants will have to contact ACAS with a view to exploring early conciliation (EC) before they are allowed to issue a tribunal claim. In brief, the proposed procedure is as follows:
- The prospective claimant must submit an EC form to ACAS containing contact details for both parties. No information on their potential claim will be required. The EC form will stop the clock in relation to the relevant tribunal time limit for submission of the claim.
- ACAS will make ‘reasonable attempts’ to contact the prospective claimant.
- If conciliation is not possible, ACAS will issue an EC certificate which will allow the claimant to proceed with the tribunal claim.
- If the parties agree to conciliate, ACAS will have one month from the date of the EC form to promote a settlement. This period can be extended by up to two weeks.