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Acas Early Conciliation

If you are considering bringing a claim against your employer to the Employment Tribunal, you must go through Acas Early Conciliation as the first step.  This gives you the opportunity to settle your workplace disputes without going to Tribunal.

A workplace dispute can be a highly stressful time; not only will you have had the stress arising from the issue itself, but you may also be cautious about bringing a claim against your employer, or if you have been dismissed you will be concerned about paying your bills and future finances.  At a time like this, you will need as much support as possible to understand and move through the process.

We can deal with Early Conciliation on your behalf, to leave you to focus on more important things. 

We will:

  • Complete the online form
  • Talk you through the process
  • Advise on the value of your claim
  • Handle negotiations and talk to the Acas officer for you
  • Prepare the paperwork needed to conclude the settlement

Emotions will be running high for you, and we will be able to take a step back from your case and review it with fresh and neutral eyes, meaning that while supporting you we won’t be clouded by the stress and emotion that can sometimes cloud judgement.

Not only this, but you will have the benefit of our very extensive experience in negotiating on your behalf.   We will be able to tell you whether you have a strong claim to pursue to the tribunal or whether a settlement would be in your best interests.  With our experience of handling Employment Tribunal claims we can guide you on the value of your case, how much money you may secure in settlement of your claims and the wider settlement terms.

In the event that conciliation fails we will then be better placed to take on your claim and represent you in the Tribunal, already knowing the background and details of you and your case.

We offer a fixed fee service for Early Conciliation.  This helps you to budget for the cost, manage your finances accordingly as well as avoiding making errors in the completion of forms or missing deadlines that can leave you with diminished chance of succeeding at Employment Tribunal.

Our fee for Early Conciliation assistance and to receive all that is listed above is just £500+VAT.

Your questions answered about Early Conciliation

How does Acas Early Conciliation work?

To begin Early Conciliation you will need to complete a Claimant Notification Form and submit this to Acas with details of the claim you wish to bring.  This form can be found online at the Acas website or calling Acas on 0300 123 1100.

You only have to provide basic contact details and details of your employer at this stage of the process, not details of your claim/s.  It is important that you identify the correct employer and get their details correct.

The Acas Early Conciliation officer will then call you (or us if you instruct us) to confirm the details you have given and to discuss your claim in detail.  If you agree, Acas will then attempt to make contact with your employer to see if a settlement can be agreed at this stage.  Their aim is to see if a solution can be reached to avoid the need to go to Employment Tribunal.

What happens if a settlement is agreed?

Verbal agreements with Acas are binding agreements but the terms of the settlement will be followed up in writing to document the agreement terms on a form which is then signed by both you and your employer.

What happens if a settlement is not agreed?

Acas Early Conciliation now has the ability to conciliate for up to six weeks with you and your employer.  There is no longer the option to extend this if it appears that it is unlikely that an agreement will be reached by the end of the six weeks.

If it is clear that no settlement will be agreed and neither you nor your employer will engage in negotiations then the conciliation period can be ended early at your request.

If no agreement is reached then Acas will issue an Early Conciliation certificate.  If you wish to pursue your case the next step would be for you to issue a Tribunal claim within the relevant timescales or we can do so on your behalf.

Do I have to participate in Acas Early Conciliation?

Since May 2014, Acas Early Conciliation has been a compulsory process issuing claims in the Employment Tribunal although there are some limited exceptions.

You do not have to engage in Acas Early Conciliation if for example you want to issue your Tribunal claim as quickly as possible.  You do however have to at least contact Acas Early Conciliation, notify them of who your employer is and state that you do not want to conciliate in order to obtain your Acas Early Conciliation certificate.

If you wish to issue a Tribunal claim it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to do so if you do not have a certificate number which appears on the Acas Early Conciliation certificate.

Do I need a solicitor to represent me during Acas Early Conciliation?

You do not need a solicitor to represent you during the Acas Early Conciliation process, however due to the complicated legal rules surrounding Acas Early Conciliation, and limitation dates that apply in discrimination cases, you may decide you require the expertise of a solicitor to assist you in this process.  We will be able to protect your legal position and to advise you on the merits of your claim as well as your settlement options.

We offer a fixed fee service of £500+VAT to represent you in Acas Early Conciliation on your behalf during the Early Conciliation process. The process typically takes around 3-4 hours of our time over the conciliation period.

How do I know what compensation to accept?

Not only can Acas Early Conciliation be used to recover compensation for your financial losses or unfair treatment by your employer but it is also possible to ask a previous employer for a reference to assist you in your search for alternative employment.

An employer may offer a low amount during Acas Early Conciliation to try and settle the claim before they incur additional legal costs.  In order to work out what compensation you should accept you will need to calculate what the strength of your claim is and what losses you are entitled to recover as a result of your claim.

If you decide to instruct us to represent you during Acas Early Conciliation we would complete a detailed document outlining all of your losses so that you are aware of whether or not to accept a proposed settlement amount.

What impact does Acas Early Conciliation have on the time limit to bring a tribunal claim?

The usual time limit for Employment Tribunal claims is three months from the end of your employment or last act of discrimination.  Time spent in Acas Early Conciliation usually stops the clock and means that you have more time to issue your claim.

The rules relating to how the extension of time operate are complicated especially where you have more than one type of claim or more than one potential employer.  You should therefore seek legal advice on this.

If you miss the Tribunal time limit then you are very likely to lose your right to pursue a Tribunal claim unless special circumstances apply.

If it is your employer that contacts Acas you will not benefit from any extension of time to the usual tribunal time limit for issuing Employment Tribunal claims.

If you are seeking to bring a claim against your employer and would like us to represent you, or you have questions that we have not addressed here, you can contact us on 023 8063 9311 or email employment@warnergoodman.co.uk.  Alternatively, you may find our recent article about Acas Early Conciliation useful.

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