The law requires anybody wanting to bring a litigation case to court to do so within a certain period of time, depending on the particular area of litigation. The time limits to submit a claim to an employment tribunal are very tight and usually within three months of the date of action. Claims for redundancy payment and equal pay claims must be submitted to the tribunal within six months. Time limits for an employment tribunal can only be extended in exceptional circumstances and you should never rely on this. If you fail to submit a claim within a statutory time limit, it is likely that your claim will not be allowed.
Time limits extended under ACAS Compulsory Early Conciliation
Since May 2014, it has been compulsory to notify Acas first under its early conciliation procedure before submitting an employment tribunal claim (in almost all cases). An Acas conciliator will speak to your employer to see if you can settle your differences. Acas conciliators should be independent and should not take sides. Conciliation is a confidential process so that tribunals will not take into account what has been discussed during conciliation if you subsequently go to a tribunal hearing.
Under the Acas conciliation procedure the time limits for submitting an employment tribunal claim is paused for up to one calendar month. This can be extended by a further 14 days by agreement of both parties. You generally then have a further calendar month to submit your claim although time limits can become complicated, depending on when the time limit clock was paused and you are advised to take specialist advice.
To participate in this procedure you must complete an early conciliation notification form online or telephone ACAS. For further information on conciliation visit www.acas.org.uk/earlyconciliation or telephone 0300 123 1100. If you appoint us as your legal representative, we can negotiate with the ACAS conciliator on your behalf but you must make the first approach yourself. If the conciliation process ends without success, you will be given a conciliation notification number which needs to be entered on your employment tribunal claim form.