New research published last week by Acas into the use of ACAS conciliation where an employment tribunal claim had been lodged revealed that 71% of claims reported to ACAS did not proceed to a hearing.

The research follows a report last year into the use of early conciliation which was introduced in 2014. Early conciliation is mandatory and requires anyone thinking of making a tribunal claim to first notify Acas, who will help try and resolve the dispute without the need for legal action.

The research found that:

  • 31% of cases were settled at the early conciliation stage
  • 22% were settled after a claim had been
  • over half of claimants (54 per cent) said that taking part in EC made it quicker to resolve their employment tribunal claim
  • The most common outcome for both the claimant and employer was an ACAS conciliated settlement (52%)
  • eight out of ten claimants (83 per cent) and nearly nine out of ten employers (89 per cent) reported that Acas was even-handed
  • among claimants and their representatives who withdrew their cases, a fifth (20 per cent) felt that the tribunal fees were off putting and 17 per cent felt it was too stressful to continue
  • over six out of ten (63 per cent) claimants who took part in Early Conciliation (EC) felt better prepared for the subsequent employment tribunal claim process.

Acas has also published new figures on its conciliation service which summarises performance for its second full year of EC, which found that:

  • It dealt with over 92,000 EC cases between April 2015 and March 2016, nearly 1000 more cases compared to the same period last year
  • It has been approached directly by employers requesting conciliation in over 4,000 cases - an increase of nearly 60 per cent on the previous year.

Jo Seery of Thompsons Solicitors commented “While there are some clear benefits of ACAS conciliation the report shows that employees continue to be denied access to justice as a result of fees.”

To read the report in full, go to:

To read the latest update on EC, go go: