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Employment Tribunal Pricing (Bringing and Defending Unfair and/or Wrongful Dismissal Claims)

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Reference to VAT is at its current rate of 20%

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal is as follows:

  • Simple case: £3,000-£7,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)
  • Medium complexity case: £7,000-£20,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)
  • High complexity case: £20,000 and upwards (excluding VAT and disbursements)

The costs are primarily ascertained by multiplying the relevant fee earner’s hourly rate by the amount of time they spend on your claim. Generally more complex claims will require more input from more senior (and therefore expensive) fee earners, although in most cases we will try to allocate more than one fee earner, so that work is always done at the appropriate level, which keeps the fees for that aspect of preparation proportionate to its complexity.

The classification of cases by complexity, as we have sought to do above, is an inexact process, and so we set out below some of those factors that could make a case more complex:

  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about existing claims
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person, rather than by a represented party (in general if the other party is well represented then your fees will be lower, as we can work better and more cost effectively with them to bring the case to a conclusion)
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether a claim is in time, or whether the tribunal has jurisdiction to hear it
  • The number of witnesses and documents involved (generally, the greater the number of witnesses and/or documents, the higher the cost will be)
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed for “blowing the whistle” on your employer, or if the case raises other complex points of law, such as the involvement of a transfer of an undertaking, or calculation of pension losses
  • Where there are allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
  • How much support you need. Litigation can be stressful, and some clients need more support to see you through the preparation process than others

There will be an additional charge for attending a tribunal hearing. The actual charge is based upon the rate of the fee earner attending, but will be between £1,300 and £2,800 (excluding VAT) depending on the experience of the fee earner. This charge allows for a period of time meeting you before the hearing, and also spending time with you after the hearing for a “debrief”, or where further preparation is needed for the next day. We are entitled to charge for our time spent travelling to and from the hearing in addition. We will always discuss with you who should attend the hearing with you, as we can often send a junior fee earner, or consider whether a barrister attending alone will be appropriate.  

Generally, simple cases can be disposed of in one day, medium complexity claims need 2 to 3 days and high complexity claims will be three days or more.

Please note that this relates only to fee for cases where there is no other related claim, such as a discrimination claim, or a claim for unpaid wages. In some cases, it can be necessary to bring/defend these claims either instead of an unfair or wrongful dismissal claim, or alongside an unfair/wrongful dismissal case. This can have an impact upon the fees we charge, and we will advise you of this individually in such cases.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter, payable to third parties, such as barrister’s fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process, although we would normally expect you to pay us the funds before we commit to that expenditure.

The most significant disbursement is likely to be barrister’s fees. In simple cases these are likely to be in the region of £1,000-£2,000 (excluding VAT). For more complex and multi-day cases, barristers charge a "brief fee", which covers their time spent preparing, plus representation on the first day of the hearing. A brief fee will be anywhere from £1,000 upwards, depending upon the amount of preparation necessary. Daily fees for each day of the hearing after the first (known as “refreshers” will usually be between £750 and £4,000 (excluding VAT) depending upon the experience and seniority of the barrister, and the nature of the case. In certain highly complex cases both the brief fee and the daily refresher fee can be significantly higher.

Other disbursements may include things such as travel expenses, and the cost of preparing the bundle of documents to be before the tribunal (which is normally a cost shared between the parties).

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 is subject to change)
  • Preparing the claim/response
  • Reviewing and advising on the claim or response received from the other party
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlements through to agreement
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss
  • Preparing for (and, where necessary, attending) a Preliminary Hearing (a short initial administrative hearing, or a hearing that deals with one aspect of the case)
  • Advising you on your disclosure obligations, exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents to be used at the final hearing
  • Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing a content with witnesses
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
  • Agreeing a list of issues, chronology and/or cast list
  • Preparation and attendance at the final hearing, including preparing instructions to counsel
  • Advising you on the outcome of the hearing, and finagling matters for you (such as paying or receiving compensation, considering appeals etc.)

The stages set out above are an indication only, and some stages may not be required. This would reduce the costs you pay. Alternatively, one or more of the stages may result in significant additional work (for example if there is a dispute over the disclosure of documents, or if it is decided to seek a settlement by way of mediation) which will increase the fee.

You may wish to handle aspects of the claim yourself, and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged based on your individual needs.

Sometimes a client may wish to instruct us to discuss options relating to a claim before they have decided whether or not to bring it. An employer may instruct us to advise on ways to handle a potential dispute. The fees associated with this are excluded from the above, given that there can be such a variation in what we are required to do. Our usual practice is to charge for this work at our normal hourly rates, having provided an estimate in advance.

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 then it may take no more than a few weeks. However, if your claim proceeds to a final hearing then it is likely to take between six months and one year to reach a final resolution. 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.

Please bear in mind that a significant factor in this timescale is the workload that the particular employment tribunal is facing, and this can lead to significant delays.

Personnel

The Employment team is made up of a number of employment law specialists. Their full profiles can be found by clicking on the names below. Each matter is overseen by a Partner or Senior Associate, but their involvement will depend upon the complexity of the matter, its significance to the client and its value. In summary, our team is as follows:

Vanessa Bell – Partner, Head of Employment, £340 per hour

Vanessa qualified as a solicitor in 2007, and has specialised in employment law ever since. Vanessa spends all of her time on employment-related matters, and a significant number of those involve representing clients in employment tribunal proceedings. Since qualification she has dealt with over one hundred matters of this type, from simple cases up to complex multi-day hearings. Vanessa supervises all other members of the team, on a case by case basis.

Matthew Cole – Partner, £340 per hour

Matthew qualified as a solicitor in 1995, and has specialised in employment law ever since. For the majority of his career Matthew has specialised solely in employment-related matters, although now spends approximately half his time advising on employment-related matters, and the other half on data protection and privacy issues. Since qualification, he has dealt with over one hundred matters of this type, from simple cases to complex multi-day hearings. Matthew supervises all other members of the team on a case by case basis.

Emma Loveday-Hill – Senior Associate, £290 per hour

Emma qualified as a solicitor in 2011, and has specialised in employment law ever since. Emma spends a majority of her time on employment-related matters, and a significant number of those involve representing clients in employment tribunal proceedings. Since qualification she has dealt with over one hundred matters of this type, from simple cases up to complex multi-day hearings.  Emma supervises all other members of the team, except for the partners, on a case by case basis.

Sheilah Cummins – Associate, £250 per hour

Sheilah qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2011, and has specialised in employment law ever since.  Sheilah spends all of her time on employment-related matters, and a significant number of those involve representing clients in employment tribunal proceedings. Since qualification she has dealt with over 50 such matters of this type, from simple cases up to multi-day hearings.  Sheilah supervises more junior team members, including solicitors, trainee solicitors and paralegals, on a case by case basis.

Siân Llewelyn – Solicitor, £180 per hour

Sian qualified as a solicitor in 2018, and has specialised in employment law ever since.  Sian spends all of her time on employment-related matters, and a significant number of those involve representing clients in employment tribunal proceedings. Sian’s recent qualification means that she has dealt with a small number of such matters. She is supervised on unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims by other members of the team, and is undertaking a wide range of activities to build her skills and expertise in this area. Sian supervises junior team members, including trainee solicitors and paralegals

Expert
Vanessa Bell
Partner
Matthew Cole
Partner
Emma Loveday-Hill
Senior Associate
Sheilah Cummins
Associate
Siân Llewelyn
Solicitor
Alex (Alexandra) Huston
Solicitor
Frankie O'Brien
Paralegal
Graham Mead
Partner