Since April 2009 employers, employees and workers who were involved in workplace disputes were able to elect to use the ACAS Pre-Claim Conciliation Service, to see whether the issues could be resolved without the need to pursue an Employment Tribunal Claim. This extended the existing and continuing provision of conciliation by ACAS following submission of an Employment Tribunal Claim.

From 6 April 2014 this service will be re-named the Early Conciliation Service, and will be mandatory for anyone who wishes to pursue an Employment Tribunal Claim.

Employees or workers will be required to contact ACAS to provide details of their potential claims. You may wish to seek independent legal advice on the potential claims you may be able to pursue before contacting ACAS to ensure that you do not miss any claims, as once you have reached an agreement this is binding and you would not be able to re-open any claims that you have not been compensated for. ACAS will then speak to your employer to see if the matter can be resolved without the need to pursue a Tribunal Claim.

If an agreement is reached you will be required to sign a COT3 Agreement, which confirms the details of the settlement. This is binding once the wording has been agreed, which can happen verbally and prior to you actually signing the COT3. Again, you may wish to seek independent legal advice before agreeing to the terms of a COT3, to ensure you do not inadvertently compromise any other claims, such as those relating to your Pension or Personal Injury.
This is a welcome development, particularly given the introduction of Employment Tribunal Fees, as parties will now have to engage in early conciliation, whereas before this was optional. However, this does not mean that in every case a successful outcome can be negotiated without the need to submit a Tribunal Claim.

It is important to remember that the strict time limits for submitting an Employment Tribunal Claim will still continue to apply even if you are using the ACAS Early Conciliation Service. Beecham Peacock Solicitors can advise you on potential Tribunal Claims and time limits.

More information on the ACAS Early Conciliation Service can be found on

If you would like advice or assistance in using the ACAS Early Conciliation Service, or have queries regarding any other employment matter Beecham Peacock Solicitors in Newcastle can advise you. Call our employment team on 0191 232 3048.

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