Changes to the ACAS Early Conciliation Procedure

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The Rules of Procedure for ACAS Early Conciliation changed on 1 December 2020 under The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

Under the early conciliation process, it is compulsory for prospective claimants to notify ACAS before submitting a claim to the Employment Tribunal. The reason behind doing this is so that ACAS can contact the parties to try and help them to achieve a settlement without the need to proceed to the Employment Tribunal.

The most significant change is to the early conciliation period, which was one-month (with a possible 14-day extension), and is now a six-week period with no scope to extend.

Although this does not fundamentally change the position of most claims (as the two-week extension was always possible), the new six weeks early conciliation period greater reflects the reality of the time it takes a typical case to reach a settlement. The hope is that the standard six-week period will result in more cases reaching a pre-claim resolution.

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