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Martin Searle Solicitors

Employment Tribunal Legal Costs for Employees

Cost estimates for employees bringing Unfair Dismissal claims at Employment Tribunals

From 6 December 2018, the Solicitors Regulation Authority have stated that we must display prices and service information in relation to Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal claims brought by employees.

We are required to provide a total cost or an average range of costs. The difficulty with this is that experienced lawyers will always try to obtain the maximum amount of compensation for their clients, while keeping costs to a minimum. This means that 95% of our cases settle before the Employment Tribunal hearing takes place.

We have set out below our estimates based on the complexity of the case. In order to assist, we will be adding case studies which show the actual estimates given to our clients, the amount of legal costs actually incurred, together with the compensation received.

Issuing the claim in the Employment Tribunal is often necessary to ensure that your employer takes expert legal advice from a specialist employment solicitor. They have 28 days to file a defence. Where they have been advised that their chances of defending the case are weak, we receive offers to settle, which we manage to increase, within a mere matter of weeks. This is because the employer will not want to continue paying a solicitor to defend their case if they are not going to win.

The stronger your case, the less likely it is that you will need to proceed to an Employment Tribunal Hearing. The main exception to this is where your employer has some kind of legal expenses insurance and, due to the high volume of work, the person dealing with the case does not concentrate on settling until a few days before the hearing.

We would therefore ask that you take on board that these estimates are just that – an estimate based on your case going all the way to a hearing – which only happens in 5% of our cases.

We always provide a tailor-made cost estimate in our terms and initial advice letter.

Straightforward Cases

For example, bringing an unfair dismissal claim where the facts are not disputed

Our Firm’s Fees

£3000-£6000 (excluding VAT)

1-2 day hearing

Junior Barrister Fees –  brief fee for 1 day hearing in Employment Tribunal – £1500 (excluding VAT)

Refresher payment for each additional day in Employment Tribunal – £1000 (excluding VAT)

Medium Complexity Cases

For example, bringing an unfair dismissal claim where the facts are disputed so many witnesses are called

Our Firm’s Fees

£4000-£8000 (excluding VAT)

3-5 day hearing

Junior Barrister Fees –  brief fee for 1 day hearing in Employment Tribunal – £1500 (excluding VAT)

Refresher payment for each additional day in Employment Tribunal – £1000 (excluding VAT)

Which totals £2000-£4000 (excluding VAT)

High Complexity Cases

For example, bringing an unfair dismissal claim where there are also whistleblowing, discrimination or Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) claims

Our Firm’s Fees

£6000-£10,000 (excluding VAT)

3-5 day hearing

Senior Barrister Fees –  brief fee for 1 day hearing in Employment Tribunal – £2500 (excluding VAT)

Refresher payment for each additional day in Employment Tribunal – £1500 (excluding VAT)

Which totals £3000-£6000 (excluding VAT)

If the hearing lasts longer than above, there will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of approximately £1000-£1500 per day (excluding VAT).

Additional 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
  • Making claims against unrepresented employers
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether you are disabled if the case involves disability discrimination (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

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as barrister and medical expert fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. There are no fees for issuing an Employment Tribunal claim.

Wrongful Dismissal

This is where you have a contractual claim. For example, where your employer has failed to give and pay you for your notice period. Your employer can only refuse to pay notice where you have been found to have committed an act of gross misconduct so that your employer is entitled to end your contract without giving notice.

Another example of wrongful dismissal is where your employer has failed to follow a contractual disciplinary process. This is rare as the disciplinary process is usually contained in a disciplinary policy which is non-contractual.

Key Stages

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 your claim
  • Reviewing and advising on the response from other party
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • Preparing 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, either in-house advocacy provided or instructing a barrister

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 4-6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 12-18 months. 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.

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