HM Insights

Early conciliation in employment disputes - is it worth taking a risk for employers?

ACAS have released the first six months' figures regarding early conciliation. These show the numbers of applications for early conciliation on a monthly basis and the take up of early conciliation by employers and employees.

However, the most interesting figure is contained within the Quarter One statistics.  It would appear that 58% of early conciliation cases were neither settled by COT3 (only 18% of cases) as part of the conciliation process nor proceeded to tribunal claims (only 24% of cases).

Although these are only figures from the first three months of the early conciliation, we can see that if employers choose not to settle a claim, then there was a 70% chance that no claim would be made against the employer in the employment tribunal.

Whether this is an example of employment tribunal fees deterring access to justice or successfully weeding out weak cases is an argument for another day. What is clear is that – relying on this set of figures – choosing not to settle a claim during early conciliation appears to be a reasonable gamble for employers to take.

The ACAS figures can be found here.

To discuss defending tribunal claims (and preventing them arising), please contact one of our employment team.