ACAS Early Conciliation and Employment Tribunals
ACAS Early Conciliation is the first step before you can start an Employment Tribunal claim. You need to know what your claims are and what you want from your employer when you commence the process.
Early Conciliation is started by registering online within 3 months less one day of the issue you are complaining about. You can register online on the ACAS website at https://tell.acas.org.uk/find-a-solution-to-your-employment-dispute
Once you have registered with ACAS a conciliator will be assigned to your case. They will speak to both you and your employer/former employer to explore whether it is possible for a settlement to be reached without the need for you to bring an Employment Tribunal claim. A settlement generally involves your employer/former employer paying you a sum of money in return for you signing a written agreement stating that you will not pursue any claims against them.
Settlement is entirely voluntarily however and if an agreement cannot be reached then the process will come to an end. At this stage the ACAS conciliator will issue you with a certificate which includes a number you will need to include on your Employment Tribunal claim form if you then decide to pursue a claim.
As above, the initial deadline for your claim is three months less one day from the date of the issue you are complaining about. If you register with ACAS for early conciliation on or before the initial deadline then the time limit will be extended. Once you receive your ACAS certificate you can calculate the final deadline for you to submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal as follows:
Step 1: Count the days ACAS early conciliation lasted starting from the day after you notified ACAS of your claim and ending on the date when the certificate was issued. Add the number of days to the initial deadline for your claim.
Step 2: Add one month to the date when the certificate was issued.
Step 3: Identify which calculation from step 1 and 2 above gives a later date. The later of the two dates is the new deadline for you to submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal.
For example, if you wished to bring a claim for unfair dismissal the deadline for you to register with ACAS would be three months less one day from the date when your employment ended. If this was 2 September the deadline would be 1 December.
If you then registered with ACAS on 29 November and your ACAS certificate was issued on 15 December the ACAS process would have lasted for 16 days. Adding 16 days to your initial deadline of 1 December would take you to 17 December. Adding a month to the date of the ACAS certificate however would take you to 15 January which is later. The deadline for your claim to be submitted to an Employment Tribunal in those circumstances would therefore be 15 January.
The Employment Tribunal process itself can be complicated and daunting, and our employment specialists are here to advise you on all issues, including time limits, completing claim forms, and dealing with Tribunal orders.
It’s vital that proper advice is sought on these matters. Failure to comply with the required procedures and orders at the right time can lead to:
- Your claim being struck out
- Paying a deposit to continue your claim
- Having to pay some of your employer’s costs of defending your claim
If you are thinking about starting a claim, our Employment Law team can:
- Provide you with a full review of the documents you have related to your case
- Give written advice on the merits and value of your potential claim(s)
- How you could fund them for a fixed fee
- Help enable you to take an informed decision on whether to go ahead with your Employment Tribunal case
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Employment Tribunal Fee
We offer a professional yet personal service at competitive prices, so you can be sure to receive a great value service with peace of mind over costs. We will always provide you with clear information about the costs involved in us handling your case.
There are a range of payment options depending on your case and Howells provides services with a range of fixed fees or competitive and affordable hourly rates. If your case is suitable and after an assessment of the case we believe it has good merits, we may also be able to offer a damages based agreement (also known as ‘no win, no fee’). For further information see here.
2 steps to contacting Howells:
We’ll listen carefully to you, clarify what you’re trying to achieve, and then explain if and how we can help you. We will take some initial information and liaise with a legal professional regarding your case. If it looks like we can help, we will book you in for a consultation with a legal professional.
Our Employment team, is renowned for its no-nonsense, energetic and pragmatic approach. Its success isn’t just down to its extensive knowledge of the law, it’s also the way we pride ourselves on putting our client first, getting to know you and understanding what you want to achieve. To get the best results for you and achieve commercially sensible outcomes it is essential that we understand your business.
The team is highly regarded, with recommendations from many clients. The professional guide, Legal 500, also ranks Howells employment team highly in Sheffield and South Yorkshire;
Legal 500 2018
"The 'friendly and approachable' employment team at Howells is known primarily for its representation of employees in tribunal claims. Clare Fowler and Tom Bernard jointly head the team, which is supported by head of civil litigation Graham Hogarth. Fowler has particular experience delivering discrimination advice, while Bernard is recommended for his 'balanced advice, thorough and clear communication' in relation to claims. The team has recently handled disability discrimination claims, in addition to unfair dismissal claims under TUPE. The practice also has experience acting for SMEs, including advising one employer on a complex redundancy matter."