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Adams & Others v Cornerstone Community Care: EA-2019-SCO-000111-SH

Judgment relating to an appeal against the rejection and reconsideration of a series of claim forms with incomplete early conciliation numbers.

On 14 November 2019, the Employment Tribunal (ET) rejected a series of claims on the basis that they had failed to provide a full ACAS early conciliation number or confirm that the provision of such a number was not necessary for their claim. The Claimants submitted numbers with eight digits, rather than the requisite ten. The Claimants resubmitted the claims having amended their error and requested that the decision be reconsidered. The claims were accepted on 2 December 2019 by the ET, which decided that the numbers should be treated as those that were submitted on 19 November 2019. The Claimants appealed on the basis that the ET could have identified the individuals from the incomplete numbers, and that rule 12 of the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013, (the Regulations), which allows tribunal staff to refer errors relating to early reconciliation numbers to an Employment Judge for a decision, was not adhered to. The Claimants also appealed the reconsideration judgment on the basis that the ET erred in law in relation to its attribution of the new numbers to the application submitted in November 2019.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) dismissed the appeal. The ET has correctly rejected the claims under paragraph 10(1)(c)(i) of Schedule 1 of the Regulations. The ET was entitled to consider the claims once the complete early conciliation number had been provided and to treat the date on which the new claims had been submitted as the date on which the claims had also been lodged. There was no need to commence a hearing. The EAT did acknowledge, however, that the regulation relating to such errors concerning early conciliation numbers has since been altered by the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2020/1003 (paragraph 12).