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Naming the Respondent in the ACAS process

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An error in the name on the ACAS EC certificate for the Respondent does not prevent a Tribunal from accepting the claim according to the recent EAT decision in Mist v Derby Community NHS Trust. The Claimant in this case correctly named the Respondent in the ET1 but did so incorrectly in the ACAS EC process. A second Respondent was added at a later stage and they challenged the Claimant’s compliance with ACAS EC.

The EAT held that s18A of the Employment Tribunal Act 1996 requires the Claimant to name the Respondent but the requirement is not to give the full legal title. If ACAS accept the notification and subsequently issue a certificate, the Tribunal can rely on this as conclusive of the Claimant’s compliance with ACAS EC. Addition of a new Respondent can be treated as an amendment to the existing claim and as such no additional certificate is required. Further, a tribunal can decide not to reject a claim where the certificate and the ET1 have differing details.

There has been much case law on the new ACAS EC but few cases have made it to the EAT to provide this level of guidance. Whilst authority for tribunals, the case is very much around the discretion of a Judge in such a case and does not dictate what they must do but rather what they can do. Helpful authority for a Claimant who should ever have to rely on it but caution should still be taken to ensure that the details are right first time given the discretionary element.

Written by
Edward Aston
27th January 2016