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Dispute resolution: What's changing? Acas can help

Far-reaching changes to employment tribunal procedures and the dispute resolution process are being introduced from this summer onwards. The new rules are likely to have radical implications on how employers and employees can resolve workplace disagreements - and no one is better placed than Acas to provide help and advice.

The changes, which are being brought in through legislation such as the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act and the Employment Tribunals Regulations 2013, include: the introduction of fees to lodge tribunal claims; the replacement of compromise agreements with settlement agreements; and early conciliation through Acas.

The new fee system will be banded and means tested, and is designed to discourage 'have a go' claims. It's meant to encourage both sides to settle a dispute between themselves rather than go to a tribunal.

The old compromise agreements are to be renamed 'settlement agreements', and will now include laws preventing discussions and offers made in the course of trying to end the employment relationship with such an agreement from being used as evidence in unfair dismissals tribunal cases, unless there has been improper behaviour during that process.

The aim is that the new laws on the confidentiality of offers and discussions will make it easier to come to an agreement. Acas has drawn up a new statutory Code of Practice on Settlement agreements and produced related guidance.

The Government has also asked Acas to operate a new Early Conciliation service, which will be introduced in early 2014. All employment tribunal claims will go to Acas first for early conciliation, providing both sides another opportunity to settle a claim before it reaches court.

Acas is taking a leading role in how these changes are to be implemented, and is therefore well placed to offer advice and training on the new rules. Employment law update events include the course 'Dispute resolution. What's changing?', which gives a practical overview of the new legal landscape surrounding employment tribunal procedures. Acas also runs practical training on Dispute resolution in the workplace

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.

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