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Charging for our Services: Employment law

Our aim is to be as transparent as possible about the way in which we charge for our services. With this in mind

We will normally provide you with an estimate of costs at the beginning of our relationship and keep you regularly updated of any relevant developments as we go along.  

Examples of fees in a variety of specific circumstances are set out below, including likely costs of Employment Tribunal proceedings for unfair or wrongful dismissal

If at any stage you want to discuss our fees, please get in touch. You can contact James Willis (Head of Employment Law) at any time on 01293 596931.

Charge out rates

Traditionally, lawyers have tended to charge for their services by reference to an hourly charge out rate.  Rates normally vary, depending on the experience and seniority of the lawyer concerned.  

Our rates +

James Willis’ normal hourly charge out rate is currently £270 plus VAT.  Hourly charge out rates for other lawyers who may work on your matter will vary from £215 plus VAT for a junior solicitor to £330 plus VAT for a partner. We will set out and obtain your agreement to who in the team could be working on your matter and their rates, in advance.

Contact us to find out more; or fill in our online enquiry and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Employment law covers a wide range of potential issues and matters, and specific examples of the factors relevant to fees include:

Fixed-price arrangements

Please contact us to discuss your requirements

Fixed-price arrangements +

We are always happy to consider working under fixed-price arrangements in relation to the advice and support we provide. This can be particularly relevant to work associated with reviewing or preparing documents such as employment contracts, HR policies and director’s service agreements.  

Settlement agreements

Settlement agreements usually contain an agreement by your employer to contribute to your costs.

You may not have to pay us a penny for the advice we provide +

We regularly act for employees in the negotiation of settlement agreements (previously known as compromise agreements).  If you have been offered a settlement agreement, you will need to take independent legal advice on its terms and effect.  We can provide this advice.  

We appreciate you may be concerned about the costs involved in taking legal advice.  However, your settlement agreement will normally include a promise from your employer that they will make a contribution towards your legal fees. Wherever possible, we try to work with the budget set by your employer.  

Take a look at our settlement agreement FAQs and contact James Willis (Head of Employment Law) on 01293 596931 to find out more.

Employment Tribunal proceedings

If you find yourself pursuing or defending an Employment Tribunal claim, then we are here to help.

Tribunal claims +

We conduct all types of Employment Tribunal litigation and have particular experience in dealing with claims for:

•    unfair dismissal 
•    breach of contract / wrongful dismissal
•    discrimination
•    victimisation 
•    whistleblowing

At the beginning of our relationship, we will discuss with you the costs associated with pursuing or defending an Employment Tribunal claim, having regard to the nature of the claim(s) involved.  The costs can vary significantly, depending on the complexity of the issues.  

For an indication of the likely costs associated with pursuing or defending an unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal (breach of contract) claim, please see below

Legal expenses insurance

It is always important to consider whether you may benefit from legal expenses insurance. An insurance policy of this nature could meet some or all of the costs incurred in pursuing or defending an Employment Tribunal claim.  

Are you already covered +

Employees, in particular, may not realise that they benefit from this sort of insurance.  It is often buried away in home and contents insurance policies, ‘packaged’ bank accounts or other financial products.

If you find that you are insured in relation to the costs associated with an Employment Tribunal dispute, your insurers may attempt to persuade you to use one of their ‘preferred’ solicitors.  However, you should normally be given the opportunity to choose your own lawyer.  This means that, subject to us agreeing on appropriate terms with your insurer, we may be able to act for you, with your insurance provider meeting the cost.

Contact us to find out more.

Costs information for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims

Our fees for bringing and defending Employment Tribunal claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal will vary, depending on the complexity of the case.  Each case is different and will require specific consideration.  However, by way of example, we would normally expect our costs (excluding disbursements such as barristers’ fees) to be as follows:

In a ‘simple’ case:                                     £8,000-14,000 plus VAT
In a ‘medium complexity’ case:             £14,000-£20,000 plus VAT
In a ‘high complexity’ case:                    £20,000-£30,000 plus VAT

There are a variety of factors that could make an Employment Tribunal case more complicated.  

Common complications +

•    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 an employee or not (if this is not agreed upon by the       parties)
•    The number of witnesses and documents
•    If it is an ‘automatic’ unfair dismissal claim (e.g. if a person is dismissed after ‘blowing the whistle’ on their       employer)
•    If a separate hearing is required in order for the Employment Tribunal to decide on the appropriate remedy (e.g.       reinstatement, re-engagement or financial compensation)

There may be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of £1,500-£2,000 plus VAT per day.  Generally, we would expect a final hearing in relation to a ‘simple’ to ‘medium complexity’ case to last 1 to 2 days.  However, more complex cases could last 3 to 5 days and occasionally final hearings can last much longer.

It is important to note that the costs information set out above does not apply to:

• claims brought in the County Court or High Court; or
• claims for anything other than unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal. 

We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Where we instruct a barrister to represent you at a hearing relating to an Employment Tribunal claim, the barrister’s fee can vary quite significantly depending on the experience and seniority of the barrister concerned.  However, we would normally expect fees of between £1,250 and £2,000 plus VAT per day for representing you at a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation).

There are currently no fees to pay to theTribunal for making a claim to it.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties (e.g. court fees and barristers’ fees).

How we deal with disbursements +

We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Where we instruct a barrister to represent you at a hearing relating to an Employment Tribunal claim, the barrister’s fee can vary quite significantly depending on the experience and seniority of the barrister concerned.  However, we would normally expect fees of between £1,250 and £2,000 plus VAT per day for representing you at a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation).

There are currently no fees to pay to the Tribunal for making a claim to it.

Key stages

The fees set out above normally cover the work in relation to the following key stages of an Employment Tribunal claim.

Key stages +

• 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

• Repairing your claim or response

• Reviewing and advising on the claim or response from the other party

• Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process

• Preparing or considering a schedule of loss

• In higher complexity cases, preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing

• Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing on a bundle of documents

• Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses  

• Preparing a bundle of documents  

• Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements

• Agreeing on a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list

• Preparation and attendance at a final hearing, including instructions to Counsel

• 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)

The stages set out above are an indication only.  If some of the stages above are not required, our fees may be lower. The fee covers all normal steps. It does not cover any unforeseen or exceptional steps, for example, if you wanted to appeal the decision. We would estimate those costs at that stage.

Some of our clients may decide to undertake some of the work involved themselves, perhaps only taking our advice in relation to particular stages of the Employment Tribunal process.  If you would like to discuss how this approach might work in your case, please contact us.

How long will an unfair dismissal/wrongful dismissal case take?

The time 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.  

Typical time scales +

If a settlement is reached at an early stage (e.g. during ‘pre-claim conciliation’), your case is likely to take 6-10 weeks. If your case proceeds to a final hearing, it is likely to take something in the region of 6-12 months.  The length of the process can be heavily influenced by the approach of the Employment Tribunal and how quickly the Tribunal is able to list your case for a hearing.

Please note that this is just a general indication.  We will, of course, be able to give you a more accurate estimate of the likely timescales once we have more information about your particular case and as the matter progresses.

Who to contact to learn more

Our Head of Employment Law, James Willis, has specialised in employment law since he qualified as a solicitor in 2001.  During his career, he has pursued and defended a wide variety of Employment Tribunal claims. Contact our team to find out more, or fill in our online enquiry  and we will get back to you as soon as possible.