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Acas Early Conciliation

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Does the rule requiring a separate early conciliation form for each respondent to a claim mean that the early conciliation certificate is invalid if has been issued notwithstanding a breach of that rule? No, held the EAT in De Mota v (1) ADR Network and (2) The Cooperative Group Ltd UK.

In most employment tribunal cases, a claimant must provide ACAS with prescribed information before starting proceedings. The prescribed information is the names and addresses of the prospective parties. Rule 4 of the Employment Tribunals (Early Conciliation: Exemption and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2014 says that if there is more than one prospective respondent, a separate form must be presented for each. Proceedings can't be started without a certificate issued by ACAS confirming that early conciliation has been completed.

The Claimant named two respondents on his form, and ACAS issued a certificate naming both. But an employment tribunal held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear his claim because the certificate had been improperly issued.

HHJ Richardson allowed the Claimant's appeal, holding that the employment tribunal should have accepted the ACAS certificate at face value. The ACAS certificate was sufficient, even if issued in error, to give the employment tribunal jurisdiction.

Thanks to Naomi Cunningham of Outer Temple Chambers for preparing this case summary.