From 6 May 2014, any prospective claimants must contact ACAS and provide certain information using a prescribed form before presenting an Employment Tribunal Claim.
The prescribed form, known as the Early Conciliation form, can be submitted online or by post and will only require the contact details of the parties involved. Details of the nature of the potential claim(s) are not needed at this stage. The form can be found on at: https://ec.acas.org.uk/
Once the form has been submitted, this will “stop the clock” on the time period for raising a claim in the Tribunal. ACAS will have one month from the date of submission of the form to contact the prospective claimant and attempt to promote settlement.
Where the prospective claimant wishes to pursue conciliation, ACAS must contact the respondent and attempt to settle the matter. The one month time period for achieving settlement can be extended by up to 14 days where both parties consent and where the conciliation officer considers that there is a reasonable prospect of achieving settlement before expiry of the extended period.
If settlement cannot be achieved, such as where the parties cannot be contacted or where it looks unlikely to succeed at any stage of the process, ACAS will close the matter and issue a certificate containing a unique reference number. This certificate is an essential part of the process as it will confirm that the prospective claimant has complied with their obligation to contact ACAS and it will enable them to submit a claim form to the Tribunal.
Claimants will have to insert their unique reference number onto their Tribunal claim form to prove that they have complied with the early conciliation process.
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