Skip to content
Search Our Website 01273 609911 Martin Searle Solicitors - logo

Martin Searle Solicitors

Employment Tribunal Legal Costs for Employers

Cost estimates for employers defending an Unfair Dismissal claim at an Employment Tribunal

From 6 December 2018, employment law firms are required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to display costs and service information in relation to defending Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal claims.

We must provide a total cost or an average range of costs. However, experienced employment lawyers will always seek to keep cost to a minimum and consider settlement if this is commercially preferable or there is a need to settle using a Settlement Agreement to protect the company’s reputation.

We are providing a range of cost estimates on our website and we will be adding case studies to provide more accurate costs information which illustrate the estimates given to our clients, the amount of legal costs actually incurred, as well as the outcome of these cases.

The stronger your defence, the more likely it is that you will want to defend the claim in an Employment Tribunal Hearing. If your case is weak, we usually recommend that settlement proposals are put forwards at an early stage to avoid legal costs mounting. We would therefore ask that you understand that these estimates are for guidance only.

We always provide tailor-made advice, based on the strength of your defence, reputational issues and the cost, both financial and in management time, of going all the way to an Employment Tribunal versus agreeing a commercial settlement in our terms letter.

Straightforward Cases

For example, defending 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, defending unfair dismissal claims where facts are in contention so a number of witnesses must be 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, defending unfair dismissal claims where there are also whistleblowing, discrimination and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) claims

£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 of £1000 per day (excluding VAT) for the barrister to attend. Generally, we would allow 1-5 days depending on the complexity of your case.

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 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 dismiss your employee after they blow the whistle
  • 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 barristers and expert fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Wrongful Dismissal

This is where a contractual claim is made against your company. For example, where you have failed to pay an employee their notice period. You can only refuse to pay notice where the employee has been found to have committed an act of gross misconduct so that you are entitled to end their contract without giving notice.

Another example of wrongful dismissal is where you have failed to follow a contractual disciplinary process. This is rare as the disciplinary process is usually contained in your disciplinary policies which are 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 the merits of your defence and likely compensation you will be required to pay
  • Dealing with pre-claim conciliation to explore whether a settlement is commercial or preferable
  • Reviewing and advising on the evidence
  • Preparing response (ET3)
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • Providing a counter-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 advocacy at Final Hearing or, alternatively, instructing 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 depends largely on the stage at which the claim is resolved. If you decide to settle during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 4-6 weeks. If you want to defend the claim and this 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.

Additional Content