Our hourly rate for dealing with unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal claims on behalf of clients is £300 plus VAT. We will discuss funding options with you when we first speak to you, checking with you whether you have any other means of funding such as:
- 'before the event insurance' contained in any household or motor vehicle insurance you may have
- an external source of funding available to you such as through union membership or through an employer organisation.
We will also consider with you the possibility of a fixed fee or damages based agreement (DBA), depending upon the circumstances of your case. (A DBA is sometimes termed a 'no win no fee' agreement). If we consider that your case is suitable for this and we agree a DBA with you then this will mean that we will only charge you a fee if we recover damages (compensation) on your behalf, our fee being based on an agreed percentage of those damages recovered for you.
The typical main stages of an unfair and/or wrongful dismissal claim are as follows:
1. Initial details of the claim being provided to the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). At this stage we will liaise with and negotiate through ACAS on your behalf to try to agree terms of settlement. This will typically involve attending upon you to take initial instructions and details from you concerning the claim for unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal and providing initial advice and assistance on the legal position and procedure.
2. Preparing the Employment Tribunal (ET) claim form on your behalf or considering and advising you on the claim received as appropriate. This will include submitting to the ET on your behalf the factual details, legal basis and arguments on the case from your point of view.
3. Preparing for and attending on your behalf at any preliminary hearing(s) at the Employment Tribunal can add to the work and expense involved. However such preliminary hearings are not always necessary and we would normally anticipate that if required at all then it is unlikely that more than one such preliminary hearing would be required. These preliminary hearings can typically be for matters such as:
- obtaining a timetable from the Tribunal for the future conduct of your case (sometimes termed a case management conference)
- the ET making orders or directions (i.e. specifying time limits and/or the procedure) for matters such as providing or sharing information between the parties; providing or obtaining further details of the claim; disclosing the existence of and sharing evidence as appropriate (including witness evidence)
- making interim application(s) as appropriate, such as for: determining any preliminary issues which arise. E.g. whether the claim was submitted to the Tribunal in time; whether the employee had the necessary length of service to be able to pursue the claim through the Tribunal or whether s/he otherwise has the legal right to pursue the claim through the Tribunal; whether the claim should be 'struck out' for having no reasonable prospects etc or for non compliance with an earlier order of the tribunal.
4. Preparing your case for a full Employment Tribunal hearing and providing you with legal representation at such a hearing up to one day, including: analysing and preparing your case; completing all preparatory work for the hearing such as witness statements and any other evidence required in support of your case and preparing a bundle of documents and all necessary copies for the Tribunal hearing; presenting your case and the evidence; cross-examining the other party's witness(es); closing your case. Also advising you further on the merit and prospects of success and providing informed advice on the likely value of the claim. The amount of work involved will vary depending on the complexity of the case and number of witnesses involved. At this stage we will also typically continue to seek amicable settlement on your behalf as appropriate. Further days of Tribunal hearing time will be charged at approximately £750 per day. Please note that if a barrister is instructed to provide the representation and/or provide advice then further counsel's fees with then be incurred and these will be negotiated with the particular barrister.
5. Advising you of the details of the tribunal decision, including on a possible application for re-consideration of the decision as appropriate or on making an appeal to the Employment Appeal tribunal on a point of law.
Employment Tribunals also deal with other types of workplace related claims including for discrimination in employment, equal pay claims and redundancy pay. If any further such claims are relevant to your situation then we will advise you accordingly and you should note that this will be likely to increase costs as a result of increasing the complexity of the law and procedure involved.
Example Range of costs
Our pricing for bringing or defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal as described in stages 1 to 5 above is as follows:
Simple case: £2,500 -£4,500 (excluding VAT) - typically where there is only up to one preliminary hearing (please see above) and a final ET hearing of up to one day
Medium complexity case: £4,500-£7,500 - typically where there is only up to one preliminary hearing (please see above) and a final ET hearing of several days as a result of the number of witnesses and/or complexity of the evidence or legal basis
High complexity case: £7,500 - £12,500 (excluding VAT) - This would be relatively rare and involving multiple additional issues such as discrimination claim(s) on the basis of race, gender or disability etc and a final hearing lasting at least several days.
Additional Factors which could make a case more complex and therefore put the case into the medium or high complexity categories mentioned above include:
- 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 this is not agreed by the parties)
- The number of witnesses and documents
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if the employee is contending he/she was dismissed after 'whistle blowing' on the employer
- Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties,. such as any expert report fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Counsel's fees can typically range between £600 to £3,000 per day (depending on experience of the advocate) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation)
Summary of Key Stages
In summary 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 claim or response
- Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party
- Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
- preparing or considering 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, including instructions to 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 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 in the region of two to four weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take between four to twelve 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. We always seek to understand and thoroughly pursue our clients' objectives and concerns and strive to ensure your best interests are served, so we will not unnecessarily 'drag out' the resolution of you matter.