The government has announced that the long-awaited ACAS Early Conciliation scheme will come into effect for employment tribunal claims presented on or after 6 May 2014.
There will be a transitional regime for claims presented between 6 April and 6 May 2014, where the new rules might have some application.
In short, the new scheme requires prospective claimants to contact ACAS first, providing certain basic information, before being able to proceed with their employment tribunal claim. ACAS will then attempt to conciliate between the parties to avoid the need for the claim to be presented at all.
In some cases, the new rules will have the effect of extending the time limits for claimants to bring their claims while ACAS are conciliating, but the rules are complex and claimants would be well advised to take legal advice on the effect of early conciliation on the time limits relating to the particular circumstances of their case.
Not all types of employment tribunal claim are covered by the early conciliation rules, but the vast majority are.
You can see the new regulations here.