Pre-Tribunal applications now have to go to ACAS. Under this new system employers and employees can take dismissal cases to ACAS for a period of one month in order to attempt conciliation. If this conciliation is successful then the complaint will not go forward to an actual Employment Tribunal. In the event that the conciliation was unsuccessful ACAS would issue a certificate to the ex-employee applicant which would enable them to then formalise an application to the Employment Tribunal. Settlements at the conciliation stage would result in a binding agreement being signed by both parties. This recent initiative has dramatically reduced the number of actual employment tribunal claims and means that neither part would need to go to court. 
Additionally, in the event that a claim was made to the Tribunal, rules are being changed in order to reduce delay. Each party will only be able to apply for two postponements to hearings in a case, unless there are exceptional circumstances in which case a cost order may be made against the party that applied for the postponement. 
We suggest that employers should take expert advice to ensure they are properly prepared to handle any ACAS submissions and are fully prepared for any resulting claims and Tribunal hearings in order that postponements aren’t necessary. 
For advice in dealing with any possible claims please get in touch with Albert Peters: Albert has 20 years’ experience dealing with Tribunals. 
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