From today, if a Claimant commences ACAS Early Conciliation, the conciliation period will last for a standard period of six weeks unless brought to a close sooner by either party indicating that it does not wish to conciliate or on reaching a legally binding settlement.
ACAS Early Conciliation is a process which must be followed, in certain circumstances, as a pre-cursor to bringing an Employment Tribunal Claim. Employment Tribunal claims can be rejected where the ACAS Early Conciliation Certificate number is not included in the Claim Form.
The reason for this extension applying to all cases rather than the previous position where conciliation lasts one month but can be extended by a further two weeks is due to the delay in ACAS contacting employers. ACAS is experiencing backlogs which are resulting in employers not being contacted until the third or fourth week of the process. This allows further time for the parties to decide whether to conciliate and engage in discussions which may avoid litigation.
As the tribunals are overburdened and the previous conciliation rules were overcomplicated, this is a welcome extension.
If you wish to discuss anything raised in this article or require advice on bringing or defending an Employment Tribunal Claim, please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Department.
Please note that this information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking full legal advice on specific facts and circumstances.