Bringing and Defending Claims of Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal in the Employment Tribunal
The information set out below provides our general pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal.
This information is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice.
We will do our best to provide you with a more accurate indication of the likely costs should you bring a claim of unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal should you choose to instruct us.
Please note that it is very rare for the Employment Tribunal to make an order for your opponent to pay your costs if you succeed. Therefore, unlike the position in the civil courts, legal fees generally are not recoverable in the Employment Tribunal.
Our charges are based on work performed by our Employment Solicitor has over 2 years of experience and charges on an hourly basis, currently set at £195 plus VAT.
Depending on the complexity of the case, for information purposes, our charges are likely to be:-
1. Basic Charges
Our charges depend on the amount of work that we perform on your behalf.
However, as a general indication, we have produced the following guideline figures fees split between a simple case, a case of medium complexity and a highly complex case:-
- Simple case: Up to £10,000 plus VAT
- Medium complexity case: Up to £20,000 plus VAT
- High complexity case: £20,000 or more plus VAT
(See ‘Factors that could make a case more complex and expensive’ below.)
2. Attending a Tribunal Hearing
Unless a case is particularly straightforward and we would have the capacity to attend on your behalf, we would advise that a barrister (who we call ‘Counsel’) be retained to represent you at hearings.
If our Employment Solicitor is required to attend the Employment Tribunal on your behalf, this will be charged on the basis of the hourly rate of £195 plus VAT. In some circumstances, it may be necessary for us to attend the Tribunal Hearing in addition to a barrister (see ‘Disbursements’ below).
The cost of our attending a hearing on your behalf is likely to be more expensive than that of a barrister.
3. Other Hearings/Applications
These may be listed with a time estimate by the Employment Tribunal. We will provide you with an estimate based on the Employment Solicitor’s hourly rate of £195 plus VAT, which will cover:-
- Making or considering the application;
- Preparing for the Employment Tribunal hearing;
- Travel to and waiting at the Employment Tribunal;
- Attending you at the Employment Tribunal if you need to be present;
- Attending the hearing on your behalf.
Please note that the figures given above do not cover any appeals process or the costs of enforcing any award ordered by the Employment Tribunal or the Court. We will provide a separate fee estimate for any appeals or enforcement action.
Factors that could make a case more complex and expensive:
- 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 and/or other interlocutory applications. One form of interlocutory application made in the Employment Tribunal could be for one or more of the parties in the proceedings to make a payment into the tribunals system (this is known as a ‘deposit order’) either to continue to take part in the claim or to run a particular argument or allegation as part of those proceedings;
- Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties);
- The number of witnesses being called to give evidence and their level of experience (i.e. if they are a layman or an expert witness);
- The number of documents to be reviewed and whether it is possible for them to be included in the proceedings;
- 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.
Please note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list of the factors that could make a case more complex and expensive.
What is Covered by Our Charges
The fees set out above cover the work that would be performed 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 a claim on behalf of an employee or a response on behalf of an employer;
- Reviewing and advising on a claim or a response from your opponent;
- Exploring the likelihood of a settlement to avoid having to proceed to the Employment Tribunal and, if a settlement is likely, negotiating that settlement throughout the process;
- Preparing or considering a schedule of loss;
- Preparing for an initial hearing to consider issues arising in the claim, such as whether there has been a dismissal and whether it was wrongful and/or unfair (known as a “Preliminary Hearing”), including instructions to Counsel;
- Preparing for a hearing or hearings aimed at deciding what the parties need to do to prepare for the final Tribunal Hearing, such as disclosing information and documents to each other, preparing witness statements and preparing a bundle of documents for the final Tribunal Hearing (known as a “Case Management Hearing”), including instructions to Counsel;
- Exchanging documents with your opponent and agreeing a bundle of documents;
- Reviewing and advising on your opponent’s chosen documents for the bundle;
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses in preparation for the final Tribunal Hearing;
- Preparing a bundle of documents for the final Tribunal Hearing;
- Reviewing and advising on your opponent’s witness statements;
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or a list of those involved in the claim who may be asked to attend the final Tribunal Hearing to give evidence;
- Preparing for (and attending, if necessary) the final Tribunal Hearing, including instructions to Counsel, and
- Reporting to you once the decision of the Employment Tribunal or Court has been issued.
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.
As above, please note that the fee estimates contained in this guidance will not cover the fees of:-
- Any appeals process, or
- Enforcing any award.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as payments for instructing a barrister, travel and parking costs, and obtaining reports from a doctor or medical expert. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process, but we may ask you for money on account in advance of the payment falling due to allow us to pay these for you.
If a barrister is instructed in your matter, for example to deal with a hearing, we will ask the barrister to provide a fee estimate prior to work being performed on your behalf at each stage of the process that they are involved in. A barrister will charge on an hourly basis and hourly rates will depend on the level of experience required for your case. As with a solicitor, a barrister’s hourly charging rate is likely to increase based on his or her level of experience. A barrister’s fees will not be incurred until you have agreed them in the first instance.
Other Funding Options
Our standard charges are based upon you paying our hourly rates, but we appreciate that this may not be the best option for you. Certain alternative funding methods may exist to help you as an individual in funding a claim or as a business in funding a response to a claim.
We will discuss the potential alternative funding options that may be available to you at your first appointment.
As an employee bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal, you may have access to:-
- Trade union funding if you are a member of a trade union. If the trade union agrees to fund the claim, it would likely wish to exercise some control over who you instruct as your legal adviser, and/or
- Legal expenses insurance cover. This can usually be found on a car insurance policy, a home insurance policy or via a Premium Bank Account and must usually be in your name to be valid. Again, the insurer or bank will likely want to exercise some control over who you instruct as your legal adviser.
In terms of both trade union funding and legal expenses insurance cover, you will need to contact your trade union, insurer and/or bank directly to check if funding or cover is available and, if so, if the trade union, insurer or bank will agree to fund your claim.
If your trade union, insurer or bank agrees to fund your claim and we are appointed as your legal adviser, we will need to:-
- Agree a limit to the overall costs with your trade union, insurer or bank that it is prepared to cover (known as the “limit of indemnity”);
- Produce monthly reports on the progress made in your claim and the likelihood that you will succeed at the Employment Tribunal to your trade union, insurer or bank, and
- Agree with your trade union, insurer or bank on how much each stage of the work up to and including the final Tribunal Hearing will cost.
No Win, No Fee Agreements for Employees
We may be able to offer you a “no win, no fee agreement”, which we call a Conditional Fee Agreement or a Damages Based Agreement. We will need to assess your claim to see whether it is appropriate for us to offer you a no win, no fee agreement. This assessment will be charged on the basis of our Employment Solicitor’s hourly rate of £195 plus VAT. We ask that you provide us with all relevant information and documentation to assist us in this assessment. Once we have fully assessed all of your documents and all of the evidence relating to your claim, we will inform you of whether we can offer you a no win, no fee agreement. This usually takes up to 10 working days from our receiving your full instructions and documents.
Key factors in our assessment of whether we will be able to offer you a no win, no fee agreement include (but are not limited to):-
- Your instructions and any associated documents;
- The strength of your claim;
- How much compensation you are claiming;
- Whether we consider that theemployer you are claiming against would be able to pay you any or all of the compensation that you are claiming (although you are ultimately responsible for paying our fees), and
- The complexity of your claim.
If we are able to offer you a no win, no fee agreement:
- It will not cover the payment of any disbursements that arise (see ‘Disbursements’ above). You will need to pay these;
- You will be responsible for payment of our charges if you win your claim. We will also be entitled to charge you a success fee of no more than 100% of our charges. The success fee is often expressed as a percentage of our charges;
- You will not be responsible for paying our charges or the success fee if you lose your claim.
We will deduct our charges and the success fee from any compensation that is awarded to you and paid by your employer to us. Importantly, you will be responsible for paying our charges and the success fee. Your employer will not be responsible for paying any of your legal fees as these are not generally recoverable in the Employment Tribunal.
We will advise you on this if we are able to offer you a no win, no fee agreement.
We will discuss the potential alternative funding options that may be available to you at your first appointment.
It is possible for a business or employer to obtain insurance policies to cover the costs of their involvement in a claim at the Employment Tribunal.
Please note that your insurer may exercise control over which legal adviser you instruct.
If your insurer agrees to fund your response to a claim and we are appointed as your legal adviser, we will need to:-
- Agree a limit to the overall costs with your insurer (known as the “limit of indemnity”);
- Produce monthly reports for your insurer on the progress made in your response to the claim and the likelihood that you will succeed at the Employment Tribunal, and
- Agree with your insurer on how much each stage of the work up to and including the final Tribunal Hearing will cost.
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 likely to be resolved.
If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take approximately4 weeks, although this may be extended if the pre-claim negotiations are proceeding well.
If a claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 26 – 52 weeks. Generally, we would allow between 1 – 5 days for a final Tribunal Hearing, depending on the complexity of your case.
As the process is reliant on third party organisations, such as ACAS and the Employment Tribunal and the speed that they can address your matter, this information is provided as a guideline only. We will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.