Our fees: Bringing or defending employment tribunal claims

Our fees: Employment tribunals

Our fees for bringing or defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal

 

The amount of work involved in bringing or defending employment tribunal claims can vary significantly depending on the legal issues involved, the number of witnesses, the volume of documentation, the number and length of hearings required and, importantly, the approach taken by your opponent(s).

This creates great difficulty in providing an accurate forecast of legal costs for any particular case which might arise. However, to assist you we have provided a range of costs below for a case purely involving allegations of wrongful and/or unfair dismissal. (A wrongful dismissal claim is where an employee has been dismissed without being given any, or sufficient, notice. An unfair dismissal claim is concerned with the reason for dismissal and the process followed.)

If your case involves other, perhaps linked, legal issues such as discrimination, equal pay, or detriment in employment (for issues such as whistleblowing), or failure to collectively consult over redundancies, we would need to discuss the case with you and give you a bespoke estimate.

Types of case

Other factors that could make a case more complex and/or may affect the level of our fees (this is a non-exhaustive list):

  • if it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • the number of claimants (e.g. a group action brought by a number of employees made redundant)
  • making or defending a costs application
  • making or responding to other applications made during the proceedings e.g. for a financial deposit as a condition of proceeding with the claim, to strike out aspects of the claim, or for disclosure of additional documents, and dealing with the consequences of any orders made as a result of such applications
  • the location of the tribunal
  • the number of witnesses and documents
  • if there are complex compensation issues e.g. claimed pension losses
  • if there are extensive settlement negotiations, or if you wish us to become involved in early conciliation via ACAS (which is a precursor to employment tribunal litigation)
  • if it is necessary to appeal, or ask for a reconsideration of, any aspect of a tribunal’s decision.

Our charges are based on the time we spend dealing with the matter. They are calculated according to hourly rates which range from £85 + VAT for a paralegal or trainee solicitor, to £240 + VAT for a partner.

Employment law rates

The estimated fees in the first table above do not include representation at tribunal hearings (whether preliminary hearings or final hearings).  There will be an additional charge if we are required to attend a tribunal hearing of £600 - £1,500 per day (excluding VAT), depending on the seniority and experience of the lawyer in question. Generally, we would allow between 1.5 and 10 days depending on the complexity of your case.

We would normally instruct a barrister to represent you at final hearings, and sometimes also at any preliminary hearings.   We will always discuss with you the need for this, the choice of barrister and the likely cost. As barristers are independent of us, they will give their own quotation of fees for any case on which we might engage them. As a guide, barrister's fees will typically be between £800 to £2,000 per day excluding VAT (depending on the experience of the advocate) for preparing for and attending a tribunal hearing, but could be more than this for a very senior barrister.

 

Disbursements (fees payable to third parties)

 

In addition to our own fees, disbursements may be payable. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as barrister’s fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Aside from barrister’s fees, other disbursements may include courier charges, bulk copying costs, travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. Motor travel is charged at 45 pence per mile.

Where referred to above, VAT is at 20%.

 

Key stages

 

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:

  • taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
  • entering into pre-claim conciliation, if appropriate, to explore whether a settlement can be reached
  • preparing the claim or response
  • reviewing and advising on the claim or response from the other party
  • exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • preparing or considering a schedule of loss
  • preparing for (and attending) a preliminary hearing for case management
  • exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents
  • taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
  • preparing bundle of documents
  • reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements
  • agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
  • preparation and attendance at final hearing, including instructions to the barrister.

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of stages above are not required, the fee will be less. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged according to your requirements.

 

How long will my matter take?

 

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 4 - 6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a final hearing, your case is likely to take between six and eighteen months, depending on its complexity. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

The majority of employment tribunal claims do not proceed to a full hearing, and instead reach a settlement either through conciliation via ACAS, or through mediation. We will always discuss the merits of your claim/defence with you, and use that, and your wishes, to assess the merits of seeking a settlement on your behalf. If a settlement is reached then the process may take a matter of weeks or months, depending on how long it has taken the parties to reach a point where settlement can be discussed. Our fees will then reflect the amount of work we have had to undertake in preparing your tribunal case in the meantime, and in negotiating settlement on your behalf.

 

Can we help you?

 

If you would like to find out more or would like to instruct us, please click here to request an estimate.