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The rules on Acas Early Conciliation (EC) changed

The standard EC period is now 6 weeks rather than a month (but there is no longer the possibility of extending it by 2 weeks). Although this may appear to give people 2 weeks longer to submit employment tribunal claims (if they submit the Acas form in time), the EC period can still be brought to an end early by either party informing Acas that they do not wish to conciliate. This generally includes situations where the individual informs Acas not to contact the prospective respondent, so businesses should not face an additional 2 weeks waiting to see if they are facing ‘surprise’ claims.

Since October, employment judges have had more leeway to accept claims where the EC number on the claim form does not match the EC certificate. The other change this week is that Acas has now been given greater scope to correct errors on EC forms. While the individual has always needed to provide their name and address and that of the prospective respondent, Acas is now allowed to correct errors on the form at any time before the end of the EC period.

The standard EC period is now 6 weeks rather than a month (but there is no longer the possibility of extending it by 2 weeks).

This change is further travel in the same direction as the case law which had already limited the ways tribunals could reject claims because an individual made a mistake in the EC process. Overall, this does mean more claims will get through but it is in line with the stated policy behind EC, which is to encourage conciliation of disputes rather than to place procedural hurdles in the path of claimants.

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