ACAS are an independent organisation who attempt to assist both parties in a potential or actual Tribunal complaint to reach an amicable settlement without having to go to Tribunal.
ACAS Early Conciliation – the importance of taking professional advice
There is now a requirement to utilise ACAS Early Conciliation before you are able to issue an Employment Tribunal claim. The for is available to complete online via the ACAS website. https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/Create. The correct legal name of the employer must be inserted on the form or your cliam may be rendered invalid.
Upon receipt of a request, ACAS contact the parties to discuss the issues in the case and to see if it is possible to reach a resolution. If that is not possible or a month has expired without prospect of resolution, then they will issue an Early Conciliation Certificate. The Claimant then has at least 1 month less 1 day from the date the certificate was issued to issue an Employment Tribunal claim.
It is advisable that you seek professional advice from an Employment Law Solicitor BEFORE you start ACAS Early Conciliation who can assist you with that process. The danger if you do not is that you under sell your case and end up agreeing to accept a figure in settlement of your claim that is simply too low and does not represent the true merits or the potential value of your claim at Tribunal.
As a matter of prudence, we do not actively engage with ACAS Early Conciliation on behalf of our clients. Instead we simply ask for an ACAS Certificate to be issued and then we issue the Tribunal claim and negotiate with ACAS post issue using ACAS post claim conciliation (see below). From our experience over the last 25 years, we believe this approach maximises the financial settlements achieved for our clients.
We view the Early Conciliation Process as a mechanism for employers to buy off largely unrepresented Claimants for low monetary offers.
ACAS Post claim conciliation
After a Tribunal claim has been issued, ACAS will then engage in post claim conciliation and will contact both parties to introduce themselves. They will thereafter act as a “middle man” to promote a conciliation agreement between the parties as an alternative to the Tribunal dealing with the claim at a contested hearing.
The terms of any settlement negotiated through ACAS Early Conciliation or Post Claim Conciliation, will be contained within a written agreement called an ACAS “COT 3” settlement agreement which will be signed by or on behalf of both parties. This will conclude the claim and the Tribunal will be notified of this by ACAS.
Contact one of our specialist No Win No Fee Employment Law Solicitors today on 0800 612 9509 or fill in one of our online Contact Forms.