In the majority of Employment Tribunal cases, ACAS requires information from the Claimant before starting proceedings. Information required includes the names and addresses of the parties involved and the Employment Tribunals Regulations 2014 also states that, where there is more than one respondent, a separate early conciliation form should be completed for each. Once the form has been completed, ACAS will issue a certificate that means proceedings can begin. Does this mean that if a certificate has been issued by ACAS in breach of this rule that it should be invalid. In De Mota v (1) ADR Network and (2) The Cooperative Group Ltd UK, the EAT ruled that ‘No’ the certificate would not be invalid.
In this case the Claimant listed two Respondents on his form and was issued a single certificate naming both Respondents. The Employment Tribunal decided that it was unable to hear his claim because the certificate had not been issued correctly. However, at appeal the EAT held that even though the certificate had been issued incorrectly, it was sufficient and should have been accepted.
HHJ Richardson allowed the Claimant’s appeal, holding that the Employment Tribunal should have accepted the ACAS certificate at face value. The ACAS certificate was sufficient, even if issued in error, to give the Employment Tribunal jurisdiction to hear the case against both Respondents.
5th October 2017