imminent changes to preliminary hearings and ACAS Early Conciliation procedures
The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1037) were laid before Parliament last week. It makes two key changes to the current preliminary hearing and early conciliation procedures.
From 6 October 2021 the tribunal may direct a preliminary hearing on its own initiative at any time or as the result of an application by a party. The tribunal must give the parties ‘reasonable notice’ of the hearing date and for any preliminary issues that are to be determined the tribunal must give at least 14 days’ notice and specify those preliminary issues.
However, it is the second amendment that is likely to be of most interest and welcomed by employment lawyers; from 1 December 2021 when completing the ACAS Early Conciliation formalities more than one prospective respondent can be named on the form. Currently the claimant or their representative has to complete an early conciliation form for each respondent named. As it is not uncommon for there to be numerous respondents in employment litigation completing one form for all will undoubtedly save time and costs both for those completing the forms and for ACAS who process them. It is a sensible, and overdue, amendment.
This blog was brought to you by Tess Barrett, solicitor at didlaw