Acas Early Conciliation

Early Conciliation is often your last chance to negotiate a settlement and will be the only chance you get to make sure your claim is accepted. Get it wrong and you could end up with less compensation or even your claim being struck out.

You’ll need experts skilled in Early Conciliation and the negotiating process to get you the best deal possible and avoid the stress, confusion, and risks of handling the Acas notification and negotiations yourself. As employment law specialists, we work with Acas every day. We will take care of everything – all for a guaranteed fixed fee.

Why do I need to start Early Conciliation?

Nearly everyone who wants to bring a claim will have to follow the mandatory Acas Early Conciliation procedure before starting a Tribunal claim. It is an opportunity to avoid the risks and costs of time-consuming litigation – but also presents some technical legal hazards that could be hinder your chances of even starting a Tribunal claim if not completed correctly.

The time limits and Tribunal rules are complicated and strict. Our straightforward guaranteed fixed-fee service makes sure your claim is protected and gives you the best chance of success.

What is Acas Early Conciliation? 

Early Conciliation through Acas is a scheme to help  resolve workplace disputes with the goal of avoiding the dispute going to an Employment Tribunal.  

Early Conciliation is often your last chance to negotiate a settlement before the need to issue a claim in a Tribunal.

Since May 2014, it has been mandatory for all claimants to confirm they have completed the process.

There are many workplace disputes that can be resolved without going to Tribunal. It is often preferable – saving time, money and avoids the risk of litigation.  

What are the Acas Early Conciliation process steps? 

The first step in Early Conciliation is to contact Acas by filling out an Early Conciliation form online.  

Most claims must be started within three months (less one day)  from the date of the act you are complaining about to file a claim in  the Employment Tribunal. It is important this is done within the appropriate time limit and that that you identify the correct employer by their legal name. Miss the deadline or include the wrong details and you may be prevented from bringing a claim later on.

Once you have completed the form, you should receive an automated acknowledgement from Acas.

You must then telephone Acas to confirm the details on the notification form. At this stage, it is vital that you correctly identify the name of the employer –  you should check your contract of employment and payslips and any name changes. If your employer is not correctly identified, this will cause problems further down the line filing your claim at the Tribunal. 

A dedicated conciliator will then contact you by phone or email, usually a day or so after you have phones Acas to confirm the details on the form. If Acas don’t hear back from you, they will usually close the referral. It is important to be proactive when engaging with Acas.  The conciliator is impartial . That cannot give you or the employer any advice but will explain the process in more detail to both sides. Having an independent “go-between” helps resolve situations which might be emotionally charged. Many employees will not want to contact their old employer directly.

The conciliator will relay offers between the parties. If terms are agreed, they will produce the legally binding agreement (called a COT3). The employer will usually produce the first draft and includes details of any settlement payment and other conditions on the offer such as arrangements to keep the dispute confidential. You should consider whether you need a  job reference to be added too.

By agreeing to a COT3, the employee waives their right to bring certain claims in a Tribunal.

What happens if an agreement cannot be reached?  

If an agreement cannot be reached, Acas will close the conciliation process and issue a certificate to confirm that the process has ended. At this stage, you are free to then submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal. If you are going to go forward with this, you must include the certificate number issued by Acas on your claim.  

As solicitors, what can we do? 

If you would prefer for us to deal with the Early Conciliation Process for you. We will. We are employment specialists, who work with Acas every day, so we can guarantee to take care of everything from the notification, negotiation through to settlement or the certificate being issued.

  • We will explain what the conciliation process involves
  • We will advise you on the strengths, weaknesses and value of your claim
  • We will start the Acas notification process for you
  • We will talk to the Acas officer and negotiate on your behalf
  • We will complete all the documents needed to settle your dispute

We guarantee to always give you an honest and considered assessment of your potential claim. If it isn’t in your interest to settle, we will tell you. Our advice will always be objective and easy to follow. And if you want to start a Tribunal claim later, you will be in the best position to take the next step, as we will already know all the details of your complaint. 

Disputes with an employer can be very stressful and make you uncomfortable within your working environment. After losing your job, you may be worried about paying your bills, as well as how to pay for a solicitor. Here, at McCabe and Co, you can get all the help and support you need to settle your claim as quickly, cheaply and with as little fuss as possible.  

How much will  this cost?

We will do everything for you for a guaranteed fixed fee of £300 plus VAT, not matter how long it takes. We can guarantee it will never cost you anything more! We can often negotiate a contribution towards your costs from your employer- so it may not cost you anything at all.  

FREE first advice

Have you ever wanted to just ask an expert employment law solicitor if they can help you, without worrying about what it may cost to contact them?

Get in touch

We’d like to talk to you to see what we can do to help, so please either call us anytime for free on 08000 614 631, email us or use the form below

Together we can work out what your next steps might confidence, at no cost and with no obligation.


* indicates required
McCabe and Co Solicitors will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:
You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.
We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.