A step-by-step guide about Acas and Employment Tribunal procedures with information about the processes involved in making a claim to the Employment Tribunal and what to expect.
Initial meeting objectives are intended:
to assess whether you have any special needs, for example; if you are a disabled person, whether the location of any meetings is suitable;
whether it is necessary to make any adjustments for you;
if you are a vulnerable person, whether you may require additional support or someone to assist you;
what your first language is and whether or not you may require an interpreter;
to advise you realistically about a potential claim to the Employment Tribunal so that you can make informed decisions;
whether you have a viable claim that could be presented to the Employment Tribunal;
what the potential value of your claim is so that you can decide whether or not it is financially viable for you.
You will be advised about Employment Tribunal practice and procedure and relevant legislation so that you are aware of:
the steps involved in presenting a claim to the Employment Tribunal;
the involvement and role of Acas in Employment Tribunal claims;
the limitation periods during which time a claim must be presented to the Employment Tribunal, otherwise the claim will be time-barred;
the prospects of your claim being settled and the process for settling a claim;
the procedures involved in attending the Employment Tribunal.
You will be advised about sources of representation so that you are aware of:
the right to representation being a personal one and that you may instruct a representative of your own choice;
sources of representation other than the Law at Work, for example, a trade union (if you are a member of a trade union), Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, charities who may provide help, assistance or representation for those with particular mental or physical impairments, Voluntary Advice Centres, and solicitors or consultants.
You will be advised about the cost of representation as follows:
how much it will cost you for representation by the Law at Work;
which fees may apply to you (whether this is a discounted fee, or by contingency fee arrangement, a limited fee arrangement, or an hourly rate) based on our final assessment of the prospect your claim being successful;
that a final assessment can only take place after the Respondent has replied to your claim because it is not possible to form a balanced view until consideration has been given to both sides of the claim;
where you may find potential sources of funding to pay for representation, for example, through a household insurance policy;
you will be given a copy of our terms and conditions of representation and relevant paperwork to read and consider.
You will be advised about your data protection rights and your right to make subject access request.
Money laundering legislation
You will be informed about the Proceeds of Crime Act, Money Laundering Legislation and Other Reporting and advised that you may be required to provide proof of identity if you instruct the Law at Work to act for you.
A verbal or written assessment of the prospects of your claim being successful and a schedule of loss will be provided to you. You will be invited to attend a follow-up meeting to discuss this. If you wish to proceed with a potential claim, we will;
ask you about your preferred method of communication, for example, whether by email, post, text or phone;
notify Acas of your potential claim to the Employment Tribunal;
if necessary, ask you to provide identification documentation;
ask you to agree to the Law at Work's terms and conditions and remind you of your cooling off period.
Communicating with you
We will communicate with you by your preferred method of communication for routine matters, for example, when the Employment Tribunal acknowledges your claim or updates from Acas. You will also receive copies of all email and correspondence together with an explanation about the same.
For important matters, we will communicate with you by phone or arrange a meeting with you, for example, to discuss any settlement proposals or the Respondent’s response to your claim, or to speak to any witnesses and to prepare you for attending a hearing.
Meeting with us
We will provide you with personal one-to-one representation, and be responsible for dealing with the management of your claim at the Employment Tribunal. We will work with you to assist your understanding of employment rights and Tribunal procedure. We will keep you up to date with all matters related to the progress of your claim.
Preliminary Step - Acas and early conciliation
Acas must be notified before you can present a claim to the Employment Tribunal. This process is called Acas early conciliation. After Acas has been notified, an independent and impartial Acas Conciliator will be appointed who will attempt to help settle your claim. While this is taking place, the time limit for presenting an Employment Tribunal claim will be extended by however long the early conciliation period takes. The early conciliation period can be up to a month initially, or it can be shorter or up to 14 days longer if this would help to resolve the dispute.
Acas: Step 1 - If the claim settles
As a general guide, the “full value” of your claim is assessed in a schedule of loss which is the prescribed method for calculating loss at the Employment Tribunal. The schedule of loss will realistically reflect the actual amount that you could expect to be awarded if your claim is successful. However, claims are typically settled for less than what is stated in the schedule of loss because no expense will have been incurred by having to attend a Tribunal hearing.
The schedule will be discussed with you, and you will be asked to state how much you would be prepared to accept as a settlement. Accepting a settlement proposal can be a very personal matter, and many people settle for a variety of reasons depending on their circumstances. We will be aware of this and will not try to unduly influence you to settle for an amount that you are not happy with. However, you should be aware that you cannot settle your case for more than the Employment Triunal can award.
You should bear in mind that the schedule of loss will reflect our estimate of the full value of your claim, but only if everything goes your way at the hearing. You should also be aware that whatever you are awarded is ultimately at the discretion of the Employment Tribunal who may not agree with our estimate of the value of your claim.
If your claim is successful, the Tribunal will order an award of compensation based on many factors; such as whether or not you contributed to the situation you were in and will take into account any final payments you received from the Respondent, for example, pay in lieu of notice or a redundancy payment.
Acas: Step 2 - Settlement agreement
You will be advised that you should carefully consider any settlement proposals before rejecting or accepting any proposal, for example, if you accept a proposal, your acceptance will be legally binding even if the acceptance is verbal. If an offer is accepted, Acas will draft a settlement agreement based on the terms that have been agreed by the parties. We will advise you about what terms should be included to safeguard your rights, and all the terms will be fully explained to you.
Acas: Step 3 - Settlement payment
After the terms of the settlement have been agreed, we will sign and date the settlement agreement on your behalf and send it to the Respondent’s solicitor who will also sign and date the settlement agreement on behalf of the Respondent. The Respondent will typically have up to 14 to 28 days to make the settlement payment .
Tribunal: Step 1 - If the claim does not settle
If your claim does not settle, it will be prepared for a hearing, and a meeting will be arranged with you to discuss this.
Acas will write to you after your claim has been presented to the Employment Tribunal to advise you of its continuing role and will continue to provide conciliation services to help you and the Respondent settle your claim.
Tribunal: Step 2 - Acknowledgement of claim
An Employment Judge will review your claim, and if accepted, the Employment Tribunal will acknowledge your claim within ten days. The Respondent will receive a copy of your claim from the Employment Tribunal on the same date and will have 28 days to reply to the Employment Tribunal.
Tribunal: Step 3 - Response to claim
An Employment Judge will review the response to your claim from the Respondent, and if accepted, the Tribunal will send a copy to the Law at Work. You will receive a copy, and you will be invited to attend a meeting to discuss the response to your claim.
Tribunal: Step 4 - Preliminary hearing
After the Tribunal has received the Respondent’s response to your claim, the Employment Judge will consider case management. The Judge may either issue Tribunal orders acting on his or her own initiative or arrange a preliminary hearing to issue orders. The Judge will specify a period within which the Tribunal orders must be complied with. A preliminary hearing is normally only necessary with more complex claims, and the Judge may act on his own initiative if your claim is straightforward and issue orders without arranging a preliminary hearing.
A preliminary hearing can be held by telephone conference call or by the attendance of your representative and the Respondent’s representative at the Tribunal.
Tribunal: Step 5 - Tribunal orders
We will draft a response to any Tribunal orders which will be sent to you.
The Employment Tribunal will issue a dates listing form which we will complete for you. We will contact you to you to find out which dates in the listing period are not suitable for you and return the dates listing form to the Tribunal.
Tribunal: Step 6 - Productions
The Employment Judge will typically direct the Respondent’s representative to prepare a “joint bundle” of documents for the final hearing. We will arrange a meeting with you to discuss this and agree with you the documents which will need to be included in the joint bundle.
Once the joint bundle has been agreed with you and the Respondent’s representative, you will receive the bundle.
Tribunal: Step 7 - Final hearing
You should bear in mind that most hearings last for three days or more. We will arrange one or more meetings with you to discuss the final hearing with you and to prepare you for the hearing. The number of meetings that will be necessary will depend on the complexity of your claim.
We will meet you at a mutually convenient location each day, one hour before the hearing and will act for you at the hearing.
The Employment Tribunal will not typically issue a verbal judgment at the final hearing. A written judgment is usually promulgated around 28 days after the hearing.
Tribunal: Step 8 - Appeal
If your claim has been successful, the Respondent will have 42 days in which to consider an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Similarly, if your claim has not been successful, you will also have 42 days to consider an appeal.
If the Respondent appeals, then we will advise you about this and ask you to attend a meeting to discuss the grounds of appeal and whether or not you will want the Law at Work to act for you at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Tribunal: Step 9 - Payment of Tribunal awards
It is not likely that the Respondent will pay any awards that have been ordered by the Employment Tribunal while it is considering the possibility of an appeal. If there is no appeal, the Respondent must pay the awards ordered by the Tribunal within 42 days of the date of the judgment.
If the Respondent does not pay the awards ordered by the Tribunal within 42 days, then interest will accrue on the awards at a rate of 8% per year. It is very rare in Scotland for a Respondent not to pay Tribunal awards. However, if this does happen, we will advise you how to instruct sheriff officers to enforce the awards.