The following costs information relates to the provision of advice and representation to individuals and employers in relation to bringing and defending claims of unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal before the Employment Tribunal. Each client and each case is inevitably different from the next. The work we do is bespoke for each client and each case and as such the indicative fees below should be treated as a guide only. We are, of course, always happy to provide detailed costs estimates tailored to a particular case.
Our employment team’s approach is always to try to resolve potential disputes about wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal without the need to involve the Employment Tribunal at all. This will generally make commercial sense, particularly given in contrast to High and County Court litigation that costs are not ordinarily awarded to the successful party on conclusion of an Employment Tribunal. From time to time however, it is not possible to avoid going to the Employment Tribunal.
Our experience of providing advice and representation on bringing and defending wrongful dismissal and/or unfair dismissal claims in the Employment Tribunal is that generally costs are likely to vary from £20,000+VAT in relation to a relatively straightforward unfair dismissal case up to £100,000+VAT for a more complex case involving claims of discrimination and/or whistleblowing and/or multiple claimants/respondents.
The above indicative costs include advice and representation in respect of the key stages of a claim at the Employment Tribunal, being those listed below in ‘Stages of an Employment Tribunal Claim’.
Stages of an Employment Tribunal Claim
Typically an Employment Tribunal claim will involve the following stages. This is a non-exhaustive list and is illustrative only. For instance, some cases involve numerous preliminary hearings whereas others only have one and in some cases there may be additional orders made by the Employment Tribunal which we would need to advise on (such as orders for further disclosure, postponements, orders for witnesses to attend and orders for costs).
- Initial instructions from a client including reviewing background documentation and advice on the merits, risks and quantum.
- Going through ACAS early conciliation.
- Drafting a claim form or defence.
- Drafting a schedule of loss or considering the claimant’s schedule of loss.
- Instructing and liaising with barrister(s).
- Attending preliminary hearing(s).
- Drafting and/or agreeing list of issues, chronology and/or cast list (where appropriate).
- Interim applications (where appropriate).
- Disclosure and inspection of documents.
- Preparing and agreeing trial bundles.
- Taking and assistance with drafting witness statements and liaising with witnesses.
- Reviewing the other side’s witness statements.
- Preparing for and attending Trial.
- Updating, consulting with and advising the client through the process.
Factors which are likely to have a bearing on costs include:
- The approach to the litigation taken by both sides. If we are acting against an unrepresented claimant, for instance, this can tend to increase the amount of time we have to spend on a case;
- Whether unfair and/or wrongful dismissal are the only claims being pursued by the claimant or if additional claims, such as discrimination claims or whistleblowing;
- Whether the case is struck out at an early stage (for instance, on the grounds that it has no reasonable prospect of success). If it is, this would clearly mean our costs are likely to be lower;
- Whether there are intervening third parties. Some examples might be an interested charity, a media organisation or company. This has the potential to increase costs greatly;
- Whether our client has some experience of the Employment Tribunal system and/or HR/employment practices and does not require an unusually high level of support through the process. If they do, this would tend to mean our costs are likely to be higher;
- Any delays or postponements by the Employment Tribunal.
Our fees are charged in addition to ‘disbursements’, which are additional costs that we incur, which we pass on to our clients. Typically this would be the fees of a barrister who we instruct on a client’s behalf to advise on strategy, a novel point of law or most commonly to conduct the advocacy in the Employment Tribunal.
Our experience is that this cost varies greatly depending on the complexity of the issues, how long the matter goes on and how experienced the barrister is. Our experience is that this can cost between £5,000+VAT and £50,000+VAT for a trial in the Employment Tribunal and £500+VAT to £10,000+VAT per day for other work. Again though, this is subject to the above variables and others. Other disbursements we might incur include the costs of translation services and any other incidental expenses we incur relating to the case, for example, photocopying of Employment Tribunal bundles.
We normally charge on a “time-spent” basis (i.e. by the hour). We are open to exploring alternative funding arrangements with clients (such as through an insurer), but we do not tend to routinely work on this basis.
Details of our employment team members can be seen here. Our team members’ hourly rates vary from £175+VAT for our trainees to £310+VAT for our employment associate and £475+VAT for our partners.
All our team are employment specialists with experience of both contentious and non-contentious matters. Bob has only ever practised as an employment lawyer and has been qualified for more than 20 years. Katherine has similarly practiced as an employment lawyer for more than 20 years. Rima has worked as an employment lawyer since qualification and has 15 years’ experience. Ed has practiced solely as an employment lawyer and is 5 years’ qualified. Any of our trainee lawyers would be closely supervised by one of our employment team.
We do not use conditional fee or damages based agreements.
We might also occasionally obtain support from colleagues in our dispute resolution and/or corporate teams. We would discuss with clients beforehand if this was necessary and to explain the cost consequences including the charge-out rate of the appropriate lawyer.
Again, each case we take on is different, so it isn’t possible to give an accurate timescale for all cases from start to finish. In some cases we are able to achieve a settlement within a matter of days. In other cases it is necessary to go all the way to a final trial in the Employment Tribunal, which generally takes at least four months and can sometimes take 12-24 months (or in very rare cases, longer still). We will, of course, always advise on the likely timescale, taking into account the detailed circumstances of any particular case.