Acas Early Conciliation: what is a 'month'?
15 April 2016
When the time limit for an employment tribunal claim is extended by a month (under s207B ERA 1996) after Acas Early Conciliation, does the extension run following the 'corresponding date' rule (e.g. from 30th June to 30th July)?
Yes, held the EAT in Tanveer v East London Bus and Coach Company Limited, dismissing the Claimant's appeal against a decision barring his unfair dismissal claim as out of time.
The Claimant was dismissed on 20th March 2015, he went to ACAS on 18th June 2015 and an Early Conciliation 'EC' Certificate was issued on 30th June 2015 ('Day B' in Section 207B ERA). The Claimant's solicitors presented the Claim Form on 31st July 2015, and the unfair dismissal claim was dismissed by the employment tribunal as one day late, but time was extended for a discrimination claim.
The appeal turned on the application of the 'corresponding date' rule to Section 207B, which extends time for a claim by one month after Day B. The rule meant that time runs from the date in question (the issue of the EC certificate) to the corresponding date in the following month (i.e. 30th June to 30th July), or the last day in a shorter month, e.g. 31st May to 30th June. The EAT followed as binding the House of Lords decision in Dodds v Walker, a tenancy case, but also noted that this interpretation made for clarity and simplicity. 'One month after Day B' did not mean one month from "in this case" 1st July. As Lord Diplock said in Dodds "all that the calculator has to do is mark in his diary the corresponding date in the appropriate subsequent month"
With thanks to Daniel Barnett’s employment law bulletin which provided the details of this case.