Range of costs
The cost of bringing or defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal varies a lot depending on the complexity of the issues, whether the claim is settled at an early stage or whether it goes to a full contested hearing in the Employment Tribunal, and how long that hearing might take. For this reason, we give a range of pricing below.
Simple case: probably 20-60 hours at an hourly rate of between £160 and £300 for a partner, and between £120 and £180 for a solicitor. VAT will be added to these charges.
Medium complexity case: probably 50-100 hours, at the hourly rates above, plus VAT.
High complexity case: probably 75-150 hours at the hourly rate above, plus VAT.
We would send you invoices at regular intervals, with a full breakdown of time spent on your case by all fee-earners, so you are kept aware of the charges you are incurring.
You may wish to give us a cost ceiling which won’t be exceeded without your prior written agreement.
Factors that could make a case more complex:
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or provide further information about an existing claim
- Making or defending applications to strike out a claim or require the claimant to pay a deposit order as a condition of proceeding
- For employers: Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
- Making or defending a costs application
- Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled, if this is not agreed by the parties
- The number of witnesses and documents
- Whether it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim, for example (if you are the employee) if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer or after transferring from another organisation
- Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
There will be an additional charge for attending a tribunal hearing of up to nine or 10 hours for a full day. The length of the hearing is determined by an employment judge. If the claim is only for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal with no allegations of discrimination or other claims, it is likely a full hearing of your case would take one to three days or exceptionally four days depending on the complexity.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as reports from medical experts. We may handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Court fees are not payable in the Employment Tribunal. We generally advise you to be represented by counsel at a full hearing. For claimants, if the hearing is listed for no more than two days, it is sometimes possible to obtain excellent representation through the Free Representation Unit. Otherwise counsel’s fees are calculated as a fee for preparation and day one of the hearing plus a fee for every following day, known as a “refresher”. Counsel’s fees are estimated, depending on the experience of the advocate and the amount of preparation necessary typically between £750-£3,500 for preparation and day one, and between £500 to £1,500 for each additional day for a straightforward case. VAT will be added to these figures. It may be some time before your case is heard, especially if it will last more than one day. By that time, counsel’s fees may have increased.
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 is subject to change)
- Entering into pre-claim conciliation to explore whether a settlement can be reached although pre-claim conciliation through ACAS is often better conducted direct with you
- Preparing and filing claim or response
- Reviewing and advising on 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
- Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing which documents will need to be available at the tribunal for a full hearing
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
- Preparing bundles 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 counsel
The stages set out are an indication and if some of them are not required, the fee will be reduced. You may not require a solicitor to attend the hearing as well as counsel. 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 depending on your individual needs.
How long will my matter take?
The time that it takes from receiving your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends on the stage at which your case is resolved and on how much tribunal time would be required if it were fought at a final hearing. If you are or were an employee, your claim must be brought within the three months after termination of employment. If you are an employer, your response to the claim must be filed with the tribunal within 28 days after you receive the claim. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take four to eight weeks. If it proceeds to a final hearing, depending on the amount of the tribunal’s time required and which tribunal will hear the case, your case is likely to take a minimum of six months after the claim is issued, but perhaps as long as two years if it required three or four days for the final hearing.
If your claim also includes complex discrimination issues, a longer hearing date would be necessary and the wait for that date could be even longer.
These are just estimates. Delays within tribunals do vary, and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.
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