The majority of disputes concerning Employment Law are resolved by agreement either via a privately negotiated agreement (see separate briefing note “Settlement/Compromise Agreement”) or with the assistance of ACAS.
From 6th May 2014 ACAS must be contacted by any claimant (in most cases) but if early conciliation fails they will provide a certificate and a claim can be lodged.
ACAS has a duty to conciliate between parties to Employment Tribunal application where requested to do so. However, the duty upon ACAS to intervene lapses after an initial “conciliation period”. The period varies according to the type of claim involved. A shorter period of 7 weeks (calculated from the date the application is originally issued) applies to more straightforward cases, such as claims for breach of contract, unlawful deduction from wages etc. A longer conciliation period of 13 weeks applies to other claims, for example unfair dismissal.
Once the conciliation period has expired ACAS no longer have a duty to conciliate, although it remains in their discretion to agree to do so.
In the event that ACAS successfully assist the parties achieve an agreement the compromise will be recorded in a document called a COT3 and will become legally binding and enforceable.