ACAS Pre-Claim Conciliation

Employers and employees have long been able to volunteer to take part in conciliation to seek to resolve their disputes with the assistance of the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). This service is most often used after a claim has been issued in the Employment Tribunal as a way of settling the case.

From 6 May 2014, however, it will be mandatory for the vast majority of prospective claimants to contact ACAS and attempt “early conciliation” before they can issue a claim in the Employment Tribunal. It will be known as “Early Conciliation”, and it will apply to all claims of:-

  • unfair dismissal;
  • workplace discrimination;
  • redundancy payments or disputes about selection procedures;
  • deductions from wages or unpaid notice/holiday pay; and
  • equal pay.

Early conciliation will not be required in matters where a very limited timeframe exists for bringing a claim, such as an interim relief application in cases of dismissal for trade union membership or whistleblowing.

After Early Conciliation is introduced, anybody who wishes to lodge a claim with an Employment Tribunal will have to provide an ACAS Early Conciliation Reference Number. A flowchart detailing the process can be found here.

If you instruct us to deal with your employment matter which requires making an Employment Tribunal claim after 6 May 2014, we will contact ACAS Early Conciliation on your behalf in order to ensure that you comply with this mandatory rule.


Deaf, hubby to Rachel, dad to Corey, Libby and Emily, Solicitor, Lecturer in Legal Practice at University of South Wales, PhD student at University of Leicester.

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