Early Conciliation is a service offered by ACAS to allow potential claimants and employers to try to settle a dispute before employment tribunal proceedings are issued.

A potential claimant must lodge a form with ACAS before they can commence an employment tribunal claim.  They must provide brief details of themselves, and ACAS will speak to them about their concerns. With the claimant’s permission, ACAS will speak to the employer to see if a solution can be found. If a settlement cannot be reached, or if the claimant does not wish ACAS to contact their employer, ACAS will issue a certificate and an employment tribunal claim can then be lodged. The employment tribunal claim will not be accepted unless the early conciliation certificate number is included in the tribunal claim form.

Early Conciliation is:

  • Free.
  • Impartial in that ACAS does not offer a judgment, provide advice or take sides.
  • Independent:  ACAS is not part of the tribunal system and will not discuss any matter with the tribunal.
  • Confidential:  What you tell ACAS can only be discussed with the other party if you agree.  Whatever is discussed cannot be used by either party a tribunal hearing.

Example: Susan has been made redundant but she is concerned about the process, and does not think that she had been paid the correct redundancy amount. She applies for ACAS early conciliation and after speaking to ACAS, she agrees that the conciliator should contact her former employer. As a result of a discussion, her employer offers her an extra £500. She accepts this and ACAS records the agreement in a binding agreement called a ‘COT 3’. Find the early conciliation notification form here

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Updates: For employers: Disciplinary issues | Tribunals | For employees: Tribunals |
Tagged with: ACAS | ACAS early conciliation |

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