Mediate in private or meditate in public - your choice

Opinion

Mediate in private or meditate in public - your choice

Employment disputes are common, so common that lawyers make a good living out of them. However, disputes don't always have to end up costing either - or both - sides a fortune in fees.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, helpfully known as ACAS, was founded in 1975 to offer mediation services to employees and employers alike, and apparently, it's rather successful.

ACAS recently commissioned research from TNS-BMRB and were presented with some interesting results. 86 per cent of callers who expected to end up in a tribunal managed to avoid an appearance as a result of using an ACAS service. This equates to 16000 tribunal cases kept out of the system. Earlier in 2010, ACAS reported that it had received over a million calls in a year - no doubt over problems exacerbated by the recession.

Mediation - 'talking' in common parlance - gets to the root of a problem quickly. Many of the services offered by ACAS are free, especially if they relate to statutory employment rights. Other services may involve a cost. Either way, using ACAS could be much less expensive than being dragged through a tribunal.

This was first published in November 2010

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