The Regulations appear to contemplate and encourage a process where Claimants are unrepresented. I note the EC form proposed contains no details of any appointed representative. With this in mind, I am struggling to understand how a lay unrepresented Claimant (a) will fully appreciate what legal claims they may or may not have and on which they are being asked to conciliate; and (b) the value of those claims, so the Claimant will be able to make an informed decision on whether to settle via EC in the terms proposed.
As part of the EC process, it seems that ACAS will potentially be put in the unenviable position of having to advise Claimants about the nature of their potential claims and their value. It is clearly undesirable for ACAS to be put in such a position and one that may ultimately lead to satellite litigation in the form of claims for negligence if Claimants are not fully advised as they would be if they had been legally represented in a normal Solicitor/Client relationship.
I am also concerned about the settlements being concluded via COT3 agreement, where the lay Claimant has not taken legal advice before agreeing to settle in those terms and compromise any future actions. If there were compromising their claims via Compromise Agreement, they would have that right.
I am all for early conciliation but it must involve, contemplate and encourage legal representation to be an integral part of the process for what are, to me, abundantly obvious reasons. No doubt this would also assist ACAS greatly as well.