EMPLOYMENT SERVICES: Range of Estimated Fees

We provide employment law services to employers, employees, and trade unions across a range of issues, from advisory work, transactional advice to contentious claims in the Employment Tribunal and the civil courts.

Our fees

We understand that our clients need to know the potential charges they may face in respect of us providing legal services. This applies whether they have a significant corporate budget to manage or are an individual with limited resources. When we commence acting on behalf of a client, we will provide a clear and straightforward explanation about how we will charge for the services we provide. If a case involves bringing or defending a claim in an employment tribunal or in the civil courts, we will provide details of the steps that might be needed, the likely timescale and the potential costs.

We generally charge on the basis of the time taken to deal with a matter. We apply agreed hourly rates determined at the commencement of a matter. VAT will be added to the hourly charge out rate quoted.

In some circumstances, we will agree a fixed fee for work that we are asked to undertake. This may be appropriate where the type of work is discrete and where there are unlikely to be unexpected contingencies. For example, a fixed fee may be appropriate where a client wants us to draft an employment contract or an employment policy.

Our hourly charge out rates for non-contentious work range from £250 to £375 per hour plus VAT depending on the nature of the work, the complexity of the matter, the timescale within which the work is required and the seniority of the person undertaking the work.

For contentious work i.e. when a dispute is to be litigated in an employment tribunal or the civil courts, our hourly charge out rates vary between £300 to £375 per hour plus VAT.

Some clients may have insurance that will cover the cost of an unfair dismissal claims and possibly other employment law claims. Clients need to check their insurance policy before instructing us to find out if their costs could be met by insurance. If a client proceeds to instruct us before receiving authorisation from their insurance company, they may find that their insurer is not willing to reimburse them for costs incurred.

Clients may be able to obtain services where no charge is made. For example, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Free Representation Unit or other free advice services may be available. We will refer clients to such service providers if we are not able to provide you with advice within your budget.

We do not provide services on a contingency basis.

Costs in bringing claims in an employment tribunal

It is difficult to provide general estimates in relation to employment tribunal claims as the costs that may be incurred will depend on a range of factors. Examples of factors that can affect the fees include:

  • The complexity of the legal and factual issues involved
  • Whether a case simply relates to unfair dismissal or involves other areas of employment law
  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
  • The number of witnesses that may need to be called
  • The extent of documentation that may need to be considered
  • The venue for an employment tribunal and the extent of travel required
  • The length of a tribunal hearing and whether there is a separate remedy hearing in addition to a hearing dealing with the merits of a claim
  • Whether expert evidence will need to be called
  • The value of the claim
  • The extent to which facts are disputed
  • Whether forensic analysis will need to be undertaken
  • Whether the party against whom you are litigating is co-operative
  • The number of preliminary hearings that may need to be undertaken
  • The number of applications that may need to be made to an employment tribunal

If a client wants us to act in relation to an unfair dismissal claim, we will provide an estimate at the commencement of the claim as to the potential costs. As time proceeds, we will adjust this estimate if the position changes significantly. It is difficult to give a typical cost as employment tribunal claims can vary from very simple claims where a hearing may take a day and the issues are straightforward. In other cases, the matter may be complex, involve multiple claims and where a hearing takes several days or weeks to conclude. Average costs can be in the region of between £45000 to £75000 plus VAT and disbursements, but they can be significantly different from this depending on the nature of the case.

Range of costs

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for employment tribunal claims:

  • Simple case: £18,000 to £25,000 (excluding VAT, charged at 20%)
  • Medium complexity case: £36,000 to £50,000 (excluding VAT, charged at 20%)
  • High complexity case: £50,000 to £75,000 (excluding VAT, charged at 20%)

For the purpose of the above ranges:

  • A simple case might involve a single, simple issue, such as a straight-forward unfair dismissal claim or a wrongful deduction of wages claim, where there are very few documents, no more than 1 witness for each party and where the hearing (to include remedy) is unlikely to take more than one day to complete
  • A medium complexity case is one where there will be a more complex claim where there is some factual or legal complexity, where the hearing may last 2 to 3 days to hear, involve no more than 3 witnesses and where the documentation is still fairly limited
  • A high complexity case is one where there may be multiple claims or where the hearing is likely to take 4 days or more to complete, where the documentation is more extensive, and where there are disputes regarding the facts

We charge based on an hourly rate which varies depending on the member of staff dealing with your matter. Our lowest hourly rate in contentious claims is £300, and our highest hourly rate is £375.  The seniority of the members of staff dealing with your case will depend on its complexity. We will discuss this with you when you instruct us.

In addition to the above potential charges, disbursements, expenses and barristers’ fees will need to be taken into account.

Please note the following in respect of the cost ranges set out above:

  • It does not include preparation of a detailed letter of advice on the quantum or merits of your claim
  • It does not include the cost of expenses or disbursements incurred on your behalf i.e. such as counsel’s fees
  • It assumes that all interlocutory hearings (that is, hearings before the full merits hearing of the claim) can be dealt with by telephone or by video, and are not in-person hearings
  • It assumes that the merits hearing of the claim will either be by video or an in-person hearing in London, and that there will be no requirement for travel beyond central London
  • It assumes no applications need to be made to an employment tribunal for further orders and that we are not required to respond to further applications made by the opposing party
  • It assumes that there is no significant factual dispute, and that it will not be necessary to call either multiple witnesses or expert witnesses to prove an issue
  • The costs range assumes that the opposing party acts in a reasonable manner and does not refuse to provide information or comply with employment tribunal orders or act in a way to increase costs
  • That there is only very limited pre-action negotiation seeking a settlement
  • The cost range assumes there is only one case management hearing and the full trial hearing and there is no requirement for other separate hearings such as strike out applications, preliminary hearings to determine certain matters, a separate remedy hearing or other hearings arising from as-needed applications associated with the case
  • That you provide all information required when requested in a timely manner and that we do not need to make multiple applications for documents and/or information
  • The cost range does not include any steps that may need to be taken to enforce a judgment in your favour if the Respondent fails to comply with a judgment in your favour
  • The costs range also assumes that your instructions do not change or that there are other changes that are beyond our control
  • The costs range also does not take into account any investigation into the solvency of another party or their ability to comply with a judgment in your favour.
  • The costs range also does not take into account our liaising with your insurance company or providing it with information about the claim, and time involved in communicating with your insurance company will be charged in addition to costs associated with your claim.

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 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

There will be a charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of £2250 to £2800 per day (excluding VAT, charged at 20%).  For some preliminary hearings we may represent you without a barrister.  For the full hearing of the claim (the merits hearing), you will be represented by a barrister, and we will also be in attendance, unless this is deemed unnecessary.   In some cases, we may not need to attend each day of the full hearing.  This will depend on the nature and complexity of the case and whether there is a need for your barrister to be supported by a solicitor at the hearing.  The length of a hearing will depend on the complexity of the case.

Disbursements

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

Disbursement costs can include barristers’ fees and court fees. The potential level of these disbursement costs will be discussed with a client at the point a client decides to initiate proceedings or is faced with defending a claim. Barristers fees can be widely different depending on the nature of the tribunal or court appearance they are being asked to undertake, the experience of the advocate and the amount of preparation they are being asked to undertake.

Barristers fees can range from £2000 plus VAT for a simple one-day hearing for a junior barrister to £20,000 plus VAT or more for a very experienced barrister in a complex, multi-day tribunal hearing.  Barristers fees will also need to be taken into account in respect of drafting claims in medium and higher complexity cases, attending preliminary and other interlocutory hearings, as well as advising on evidence.  Barristers fees will be agreed with you as and when those fees need to be included.

Although there are circumstances in which an employment tribunal may consider whether to award costs in favour of a party, It should be taken into account that generally an employment tribunal will not award costs in your favour even if you succeed with your claim (or succeed in your defence of a claim).

Key stages

Employment tribunal claims can take 15 to 24 months to complete from taking initial instructions to obtaining a remedy. On many occasions claims will settle without having to commence proceedings in an employment tribunal. The length of time a case will take to complete will depend on a variety of factors including whether the parties are willing to discuss settlement, the tribunal concerned, the likely length of a hearing, the number of hearings that are required and the availability of witnesses.

Key stages in a typical employment tribunal claim include the following:

  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation/award against you (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 or response
  • Reviewing and advising on the claim or response from other party
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • If acting for a claimant, preparing or considering a schedule of loss
  • If acting for a respondent, reviewing and considering a schedule of loss
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  • Reviewing relevant documents, preparing a list of documents and 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 for use at the employment tribunal hearing
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
  • Drafting and agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
  • Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to your barrister
  • Preparation and attendance at a remedy hearing (if dealt with separately), including instructions to your barrister
  • Liaising with the other party or their representative regarding the claim

The stages set out above are an indication of some of the steps that may be taken in an employment tribunal claim. If more or fewer steps are taken it will affect the fee. Clients may want to undertake some of these steps in order to limit their costs and we will work with you to assist in that process.

Meet the team

KATHERINE MUNN
Employment, Immigration

SUZANNE COE
Employment

JANE MOORMAN
Employment