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Eversheds comment: UK Early conciliation: from “may” to “must”

  • United Kingdom


    From 6 May 2014 Early Conciliation (EC) will be compulsory. Consequently, almost all prospective claimants will have to contact ACAS to give them their name and address and that of the prospective respondent before they are able to bring a complaint to an Employment Tribunal. Simon Rice-Birchall, partner at law firm Eversheds, comments:

    “But that is where any obligation ends! The claimant can, once this information is provided, refuse an attempt to conciliate. They will still be issued with an EC certificate which will enable them to pursue their claim in the ET, subject of course to any fee which is payable.

    “Similarly, a respondent is under no obligation to comply with any attempt to conciliate. However, it will be in the respondent’s interests to do so, not least because, if the respondent does not engage in the process, it will not then receive the EC certificate from ACAS when the conciliation attempts come to an end. The advantage of receiving the EC certificate is that it will enable respondents to calculate any extended time limit in which the claimant must bring their complaint. Broadly, the EC process “stops the clock” from the day after the claimant contacts ACAS until the day on which he or she receives the EC certificate. There is also the possibility of a further extension of up to one calendar month as, once EC has ended, the claimant will have at least one month in which to bring their complaint, provided they contacted ACAS within the original time limit for bringing their Tribunal claim.”


    This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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