Costs in Employment Tribunal and actions for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal
Our pricing for bringing and defending Employment Tribunal claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal are set out below:-
- We always consider, in relation to acting on behalf of employees who may bring claims in the Employment Tribunal, to act on either a Conditional Fee Agreement (“CFA”) or a Damages Based Agreement (“DBA”). We always assess the viability of a case before agreeing to accept it on that basis and check that it meets the requirements in relation to the provision of likely timescales. We would normally allow one week in order to assess the viability of a case, for which no charge would be made except in complex cases. If we agree to act on a CFA the principle, subject to an agreement being put in place, is that we will be entitled to an uplift of up to 100% on our base fees (hourly charges) if we are successful in the claim. If we are not successful we will not be entitled to any fees. As legal fees are generally not recoverable in the Employment Tribunal, any fees due to us would be recoverable from any award (damages) you receive. This would include any settlement. There are various hybrid versions of a CFA which we may consider acting upon, which would be supplied to you at the outset.
- If we act on a DBA basis then we would, if successful, receive up to 35% of any award of damages. It is again subject to agreement.
- In cases where we do not act on a CFA or DBA basis, costs will be as follows:-
- Simple case: £2,500 – £4,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)
- Medium complexity case: £5,000 – £10,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)
- High complexity case: £20,000 – £40,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)
- Our hourly charge out rates range from £115 per hour for paralegals to £225 per hour for associates and £350 per hour for a partner.
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 an existing claim
- 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
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
- Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
None of the above costs include any appeal. There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of £1,000 per day (excluding VAT). Generally, we would allow 1-2 days depending on the complexity of your case.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees where relevant. There are no fees in the Employment Tribunal. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. However, we require payment of those disbursements by you to us in advance.
One of the major disbursements is Counsels’ fees. Counsels’ fees are estimated between £2,000 to £3,500 plus VAT per day (depending on experience of the advocate) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation). If an expert is required then those fees will also be payable and attract VAT.
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 where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached
- Preparing claim or response
- Reviewing and advising on claim or response from 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 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 Counsel
The stages set out above are an indication and if some of stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. 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 on your individual needs.
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 2-4 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 14-20 weeks. 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. As to when an Employment Tribunal fixes a hearing is of course outside our control and depends on availability of Employment Judges.
Rupert Farr is the head of our Employment department. He is a 30 year + qualified solicitor, including over 15 years specialising in employment law.
He is assisted by Hannah Starling, who qualified as a solicitor in January 2018, and Amber Williamson who is a paralegal.