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EMPLOYMENT – PURSUING AND DEFENDING CLAIMS FOR UNFAIR OR WRONGFUL DISMISSAL.

All employment work is carried out by either Marty Burn or Justin Godbolt. Marty has been advising on employment law matters since before 2000, and Justin since 2002. Marty qualified as a solicitor in 1988 and Justin in 2000.

Fees for employment work will usually be charged based on an hourly rate. Our hourly rate is between £220 and £250 per hour plus VAT at 20%, depending on the complexity of the matter, but in any event you will be notified of the applicable hourly rate before any work is done.

Fixed fees options may be available in some cases, or in respect of particular pieces of work or stages of a case, but will vary depending on the nature and complexity of the case.

In certain cases we may consider acting for employees on a contingency fee basis (a damages based agreement). In simple terms, a contingency fee agreement is an agreement under which we only charge for the work we carry out if our employee client is successful in their claim or it settles before Tribunal. Usually our fee is 35% of the compensation (or settlement figure) inclusive of VAT at 20%, plus any disbursements such as Counsel fees. If our employee client does not obtain any award at the Tribunal, they would still pay for any disbursements, but we do not charge for any of the work we have done. We would in any case enter into a separate formal written agreement for any contingency fee work.

Employee clients may have Legal Expenses Insurance as part of their car or household contents insurance policy. This type of insurance may cover legal costs for bringing an unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal claim. Depending on the terms offered by the insurer, we may be able to work under a Legal Expenses Insurance arrangement.

The following information on costs relates to cases concerning unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal.

Average fees

Because every case is different it is not possible to state what the total cost would be of bring or defending any particular claim. If your case settles before a tribunal claim needs to be issued, our average fees, based on an hourly rate charge, will usually be within the following ranges:

Simple case : £750 – £1,500 plus VAT at 20%

Medium complexity case: £1,000 – £1,750 plus VAT at 20%

High complexity case: £1,400 – £3,500 plus VAT at 20%

If employment tribunal proceedings are required the fees will depend on the stage that the claim reaches and are likely to fall within the following average ranges (inclusive of the fees set out in the above averages):

Stage of proceedings
Complexity of Case
Shortly after the claim is issued (before a response is filed)During proceedingsAt a final hearing
Simple Case£1,000 to £2,000 plus VAT at 20% £2,000 to £5,000 plus VAT at 20% £5,000 to £8,000 plus VAT at 20%
Medium complexity£2,000 to £3,000 plus VAT at 20% £2,500 to £7,500 plus VAT at 20% £7,500 to £12,000 plus VAT at 20%
High complexity£3,000 to £4,500 plus VAT at 20% £4,000 to £12,500 plus VAT at 20% £10,000 to £15,000 plus VAT at 20%

These fees do not include disbursements (see below) or work after a tribunal hearing, such as assistance in enforcing a tribunal award, should that be necessary.

The complexity of the case depends on numerous factors, the most significant of which are usually the number of incidents/allegations and over what period, the volume of paperwork involved and the number of potential witnesses.

A simple case would usually involve just one incident/allegation and minimal paperwork

A medium complexity case might have 2 or 3 incidents/allegations and a moderate amount of paperwork

A high complexity case might have several incidents/allegations and a large volume of paperwork.

Constructive unfair dismissal cases are usually, by their nature, more complex and will therefore usually fall within the medium or high complexity ranges.

Factors that could make a case more complex and cause fees to exceed the above estimates:-

  • 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).
  • If expert evidence is needed.
  • A high number of witnesses.
  • The volume of documentation involved.
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if the claim involves whistleblowing.
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal.

If the case is primarily a discrimination claim, or any claim other than wrongful or unfair dismissal, the costs are likely to fall outside of the ranges given above.

Disbursements (expenses)

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as counsel fees or expert’s fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

It may be necessary to engage a barrister (and this will be necessary if hearings are required). Barrister’s fees are usually between £1,000 and £4,000 for a one day hearing (depending on experience) for preparing and representation at the tribunal hearing, with an additional cost of between £750 and £3,000 per additional day of hearing. Barrister’s fees may also be incurred for advice during the process, and/or if any interim hearings are required. The more complex the case, the more barrister’s input is likely to be required. Barrister’s fees will invariably be plus VAT at 20%.

Key stages

Our 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 documents and advising on the 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, with Counsel if appropriate) a Preliminary Hearing.
  • Exchanging lists and 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 of 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 may 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. The ranges above assume we are dealing with all matters on your behalf.

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 – 12 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, it can take up to 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 the matter progresses. Timescales will also depend on the capacity of the tribunal hearing the matter, as some tribunals are busier than others.