Tom’s Essential Guide To Registering With ACAS Early Conciliation

Last update: 14th December 2021

Registering your case with ACAS Early Conciliation is mandatory. You cannot proceed to Employment Tribunal unless you have completed this part of the process.

If you have made the decision to advance a claim at Employment Tribunal then registering your case with ACAS Early Conciliation is a mandatory requirement.

In short, this is the first stage in the legal process associated with making your claim. As such, it is essential you understand how to do it, and provide the correct information at the outset. Getting it wrong at this stage could serious jeopardise your chances of achieving a successful outcome.

Registering with ACAS Early Conciliation

So, who are ACAS?

ACAS are the government funded Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. The organisation was established to assist employers and employees in resolving disputes and aims to reduce the need to seek recourse to legal action by way of an Employment Tribunal claim.

The job of your designated ACAS representative will be to act as a neutral resource who will try to negotiate between the parties to achieve such end.

Potential solutions may be to provide:

  • The re-instatement of an employee
  • An agreeable financial settlement between the parties
  • Suitable job references that enable an employee to seek alternative employment (for example, where an employee has been dismissed and making a claim for unfair dismissal)

The ACAS Early Conciliation process

The 1st Stage

In the first instance you will need to ‘register your claim’ with ACAS. If you are doing this as a single employee, you do so online using the link below:

Single employee registering a claim with ACAS

If you or a colleague are looking to make a claim for multiple employees as a group claim, one of you will have to speak to ACAS directly by calling the following number:

Acas early conciliation support

Telephone: 0300 123 1122  
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

ESSENTIAL FOR YOU TO KNOW

Whilst it is mandatory to register your claim, you need to keep in mind that ACAS is NOT part of the Employment Tribunal service.

As such, your assigned ACAS representative will never discuss your case, or any part of it, with the tribunal.

All information submitted to ACAS is confidential.

You will be required to fill out an ACAS form as part of the registration process. You will have to provide personal information at this point and will be referred to as ‘the claimant’. The opposing side, your employer, will be referred to as ‘the respondent’.

If you have appointed one, you can also enter the details of your legal representative at this stage. An an employment law solicitor will be well-versed in completing the ACAS form, so if possible you should look to them to advise you as early in the process as possible.

PLEASE NOTE: Sending your completed form to ACAS is NOT the same as applying to the tribunal service, so be wary not to confuse the two.

Whilst ACAS will give you the option to skip ACAS early conciliation, your registration is still necessary so they can provide you with a numbered ACAS certificate. Without this you will not be able to advance your claim at Employment Tribunal.

The 2nd Stage

Once you have complete the form and registered your claim, you or your legal representative will be contacted by ACAS. They will be requesting more specific details in relation to the nature of the dispute on which your claim is based.

Appointing an employment law solicitor at this stage will really help maximise the value of your claim, as they will be able to recognise ‘any and all claims’ you could have against the respondent.

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0800 014 8727 or 020 3923 0888

If you have a viable claim, we could represent you on a no win no fee basis. This could mean we would be in a position to take on ACAS Early Conciliation for you.

The 3rd Stage

Upon receipt of the specific details of your claim, your appointed ACAS representative will then try to make contact with the respondent to investigate the potential of settling this matter without recourse to tribunal.

It may then be possible to reach a settlement, referred to as a COT3 Agreement. If such a ‘compromise of tribunal’ settlement is reached via ACAS Early Conciliation, ACAS is empowered to declare it as legally binding.

As such, on agreeing the terms, both parties are required by law to adhere to it.

Ordinarily, a COT3 Agreement will involve the payment to you (the claimant) of a sum of money. Typically, this will require that you agree to keep the terms of settlement confidential. Further, it is highly likely this will include the proviso that you will not make any disparaging comments about the respondent.

An ACAS settlement agreement template can be viewed on the organisations website.

ESSENTIAL FOR YOU TO KNOW

Your COT3 Agreement will be deemed in ‘full and final settlement’ of ‘any and all’ legal claims against your employer.

On agreeing to settle with you, they will want closure and the knowledge that they are free of any potential future litigation by you.

PLEASE NOTE: On this basis, you should carefully consider whether you may wish to reserve the right to pursue further legal action. For example, a personal injury claim for a physical injury that you suffered in the workplace.

Seek immediate legal advice if you are unsure.

It is essential to retain the option to make such a claim, and once the settlement agreement is signed, this will no longer be possible.

The Final Stage

Where ACAS early conciliation has failed to resolve the dispute between the parties, you will then be looking to move forward to Employment Tribunal. At this stage, you will receive a numbered ACAS certificate. This is an important document as it will show both the dates of registering and when the process of ACAS Early Conciliation was concluded.

Although the 3 month (less one day) time limit for commencing the tribunal process is paused during ACAS Early Conciliation, you are still bound by it. You must keep in mind that the clock starts ticking from the date of the matter on which your claim is based. I.e the date of your dismissal, resignation, unlawful deduction of wages etc.

It may also be the case that there is more than one deadline associated with your claim. If you need clarification on time limitations relating to your claim, you should seek specialist employment law advice.

Get in touch to discuss your situation

If you have a dispute with your employer and are about to embark upon ACAS Early Conciliation and want peace-of-mind, you can call me for a quick 10 minute telephone consultation. You will receive straightforward legal advice from a seasoned employment lawyer.

Where we believe you have a strong case to answer, we will always look to represent you through our no win no fee policy. We could be representing you during the ACAS Early Conciliation process, and if we are able to reach settlement on your behalf at this early stage, will reduce our percentage split of your award.

If you want a preliminary assessment of your the viability of your claim you can speak to one of our approachable team on 0800 756 6605.

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