This information has been provided courtesy of Hannah Gannagé-Stewart.
Employment lawyers are shifting their focus to non-contentious areas as the coalition promotes conciliation. On 6 April the latest in a raft of recent employment reforms was introduced, compelling prospective claimants to contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) before lodging proceedings at the employment tribunal.
A month into the regime, which was made compulsory on 6 May, Acas reported that around 1,000 people have contacted it about the new ‘Early Conciliation’ process every week since its launch. It is not compulsory to use Acas, only to make it the first port of call. But according to the service’s report 98 per cent of those who have got in touch have opted to try early conciliation.
The moves are all part of a drive to encourage early settlement of claims and come partly in the wake of venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft’s highly controversial report on employment law in May 2012. Other changes include the introduction of employment tribunal fees, extending the period of time in which employees can bring a claim of unfair dismissal from one to two years and a reduction in the consultation period from 90 to 45 days.
Special thanks to Hannah Gannagé-Stewart.