Early conciliation comes into force

Implementation date: 6 April 2014

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 requires potential claimants to lodge specified details with Acas prior to issuing a tribunal claim from 6 May 2014.

Key details

When a potential claimant contacts Acas with the prescribed information, Acas will offer the parties the opportunity to engage in conciliation with a conciliation officer. Acas will have up to one calendar month to achieve a settlement (although this period may be extended by up to two weeks where both parties consent and Acas considers that there is a reasonable chance of reaching a settlement during the extended period).

Where the conciliation officer concludes that a settlement is not possible, or where the prescribed period ends without reaching a settlement, the claimant will be issued with a certificate permitting him or her to issue proceedings. A prospective claimant who is subject to the requirement to submit the prescribed information to Acas is prevented from commencing proceedings without an early conciliation certificate.

Legislation extends the limitation periods for issuing a claim to allow early conciliation to take place.

The requirement to contact Acas commences on 6 May 2014, but the prohibition on issuing proceedings without an early conciliation certificate may apply from 6 April 2014 if a prospective claimant contacts Acas in the prescribed manner in the period beginning 6 April 2014 and ending on 5 May 2014, and presents a tribunal claim on or before 5 May 2014.

The following Regulations implement early conciliation: