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Fee information: Employment

Our experienced Employment team regularly act for clients in Employment Tribunal claims, from the simplest to the most complex.   We act for both senior employees and businesses, so we are able to anticipate our opponents' tactics and devise the best strategy to achieve your aims.  We are often able to achieve a favourable settlement at an early stage, whether during pre-claim negotiations or at an early stage in the case, saving you time and costs and avoiding the uncertainty and stress of litigation.

Wrongful and Unfair Dismissal Claims

Wrongful dismissal claims involve claims for payment of contractual or statutory notice where an employer has terminated the employment of an employee without notice or without making a payment in lieu of notice.  Although these claims can be brought as civil claims for breach of contract either in the County Court or the High Court they are usually brought in an Employment Tribunal (often ancillary to a claim for unfair dismissal).   The approximate charges below cover wrongful dismissal claims brought in the Employment Tribunal.

Unfair dismissal claims involve claims that an employee has not been dismissed fairly and in accordance with the terms of the Employment Rights Act 1996.  A dismissal can be unfair on procedural or substantive grounds.

These types of claims can range from the very straightforward, where liability is not seriously disputed by the employer, to the very complex where, for example, the employee is alleging that the reason for the dismissal was that they made protected disclosures (i.e. that they were a whistle-blower).

Every claim is different, and so we encourage you to contact us so we can provide you with an estimate outlining a range of potential fees to make sure that you get the right amount of support to meet your individual circumstances. We will update you regularly on your costs throughout the matter so you can stay in control throughout.

We have developed pricing guidelines for three different categories of unfair/wrongful dismissal claims: simple cases which will usually involve no more than a one day Final Hearing in the Employment Tribunal; medium complexity cases (typically involving a  2 – 3 day Final Hearing in the Employment Tribunal and one Preliminary Hearing); and high complexity cases (involving a 5 – 10 day Final Hearing in the Employment Tribunal and two Preliminary Hearings) (e.g. more complex whistleblowing dismissal cases).

Some cases (such as some whistleblowing claims) involve exceptional complexity which take them outside the scope of the price ranges set out below.

Key stages of the work

The charges set out below cover the work in relation to the following key stages of an unfair/ wrongful dismissal claim:

  • Reviewing the papers and taking your initial instructions and advising you on the merits of the claim or defence and likely compensation and any potential complications and proposed strategy. These would be reviewed from time to time as the case progresses and is subject to change.
  • Engaging in pre-claim conciliation, either directly with the other party or via ACAS, which is mandatory before a claim can be commenced. The aim would be to see if a settlement can be reached without the need for proceedings to be commenced. 
  • Preparation of the claim form outlining your case and the nature of the dispute or the response form where a claim has been made against you.
  • Considering and advising on the claim or the response from the other party.
  • Throughout the process considering potential settlement and, where instructed by you to do so, seeking to negotiate settlement.
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss.
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing (for medium and high complexity cases).
  • Exchanging relevant documents with the other party, inspecting the other party's disclosed documents and agreeing a bundle of documents for the Final Hearing.
  • Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses.
  • Preparing a bundle of documents for the Final Hearing.
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements.
  • Preparation of and agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list.
  • Preparation for the Final Hearing, including instructing Counsel.

Our charges below do not include:

  • Advice on internal employment procedures, such as grievance and disciplinary procedures and appeals.
  • Preparation for and attendance at mediation or arbitration or other alternative dispute resolution meetings or unusually prolonged settlement negotiations.
  • Attendance at any Preliminary or the Final Hearing – see "Hearing Costs" below.
  • Any applications to the Employment Tribunal for costs, usually made because one party is alleged to have acted unreasonably or vexatiously in bringing or defending a claim or in the conduct of a claim; and any related costs assessment.
  • The conduct of any separate remedies hearing, if the Claimant's claim is successful.
  • Any appeal against or review of a judgment or order of the Employment Tribunal (or any appeal to a higher court).
  • Any disbursements, including Counsel's fees, in respect of which see below.

Matters connected with unfair/wrongful dismissal claims often arise, such as data protection, tax or regulatory issues or criminal allegations, internal grievance or disciplinary proceedings, and reputation management and press handling.  Our experienced lawyers can provide with you an estimate of fees where these  matters arise. .

Preparation Costs

For a simple case we anticipate our charges (in each case excluding VAT at 20%) to be between £25,000 and £40,000; for a case of medium complexity between £40,000 and £80,000; andfor a case of high complexity between £80,000 and £250,000.

There are a number of factors that can make a potentially simple case more complex.  For example:

  • If the claim involves a complex preliminary issue, for example, whether or not the employee made protected disclosures for the purposes of whistleblowing legislation, whether the Claimant was an employee or whether the Claimant has the requisite length of service needed to bring the claim.
  • Cases involving a substantial number of witnesses and/or documents.
  • Cases involving more than one (potential) Claimant or Respondent.
  • Where pre-hearing applications are necessary, for example where proper disclosure of documents has not been given or for a case to be heard in private, for anonymity of any of the parties or for restrictions on reporting of the case.

Hearing Costs

In addition to the costs referred above there would be additional charges for our attendance at any Employment Tribunal hearings.  It is usual for Counsel (Barrister) to be instructed to present or defend the claim and for a representative of our firm to attend with Counsel.    Our daily rate for members of the team to attend a Tribunal is between £1,750 + VAT of 20% and £5,000 + VAT of 20% depending on the seniority of the team member.

Counsel's Fees

The fees for Counsel depend on factors such as the seniority of the barrister instructed to represent you, the complexity of the issues, the volume of documentation and the location and length of the hearing.  .    The fees typically involve a "Brief" fee which covers the preparation for the hearing and the first day of the hearing. If the case is scheduled to last for longer than one day there would be additional "Refresher" fees for each extra day of the hearing.

By way of example, Counsel's fees for the three categories of case outlined below could be in the following ranges:

  1. Simple wrongful or unfair dismissal case, listed for 1 day hearing, instructing junior Counsel of between 3 and 5 years' experience – Brief fee range - £750 to £1,000 + VAT
  2. Medium complexity unfair dismissal case listed for 3 day hearing, instructing junior Counsel of 8 – 12 years' experience – Brief fee range - £5,000 to £7,500 + VAT – Refreshers - £1,500 to £2,000 + VAT
  3. High complexity whistleblowing unfair dismissal case listed for 10 day hearing, instructing more senior Counsel of 15+ years' experience– Brief fee range - £20,000 to £50,000 + VAT – Refreshers - £2,500 to £4,500 + VAT

Additional Counsel's fees may be charged if advice is required on the merits of your claim or at a preliminary stage. 

Disbursements

You may also incur disbursements, which are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties.  Employment Tribunals currently do not charge fees for bringing or defending claims but there may be courier or copying charges, for example, in preparing disclosure or bundles of documents for the Employment Tribunal. 

The charge guidelines set out above are for the key stages referred to but, if some of the key stages are not required, the charges will be reduced. If you wish to handle elements of the claim yourself and only seek our advice in relation to some of the stages, we will discuss with you the likely fees for doing so. 

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 may take 4 - 8 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a one-day Final Hearing, your case may take around 6 months. However Employment Tribunal resources are stretched at the moment which is leading to delays in getting hearing dates, particularly for longer hearings.

We will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses. We will update you regularly on your costs throughout the matter so you can stay in control throughout.

Our details

For details of  the lawyers who may act on your matter please click here

Please contact us to discuss your case and provide you with an estimate based on your individual circumstances and requirements.