Employment Tribunal fees
You may feel like fighting but is it worth it? In the majority of cases the answer is stand back and work out a strategy for settlement as the legal costs are more than the value of a fight. We explain what goes into running or defending a case at the Employment Tribunal to help you decide on your steps.
The truth is there is never a typical case and estimating fees for Employment Tribunal cases is often guess work. Our services are offered on an hourly rate basis. Our clients are given an estimate of costs at every opportunity.
In accordance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) guidance on price transparency, we have published our hourly rates below. But these have to be read against the background it is not often possible to be accurate without knowing how the other side will react. Our skill and expertise is designed to leave you better off on an hourly charge basis compared with less experienced solicitors who may look cheaper per hour but will be more expensive in the long run due to lack of expertise.
Employment Tribunal claims
The services we provide includes both pursuing and defending employment tribunal claims and appeals. Most of the claims in which we act involve multiple claims of unfair and wrongful dismissal, whistleblowing, discrimination, equal pay or other claims. Less complex claims rarely reach the Employment Tribunal as they are settled.
Key stages of an Employment Tribunal claim
The key stages of a employment law claim which are covered within our estimated fees are as follows:
- 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 early conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
- Preparing the claim or response for the Employment Tribunal
- Reviewing and advising on a claim or response from the other party to Employment Tribunal proceedings
- 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 trial including any separate hearing to determine compensation, including instructions to Counsel
The key stages set out above are an indication. If some of the stages are not required, the fee will be lower. 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 in accordance with your individual needs.
Additional stages to Employment Tribunal proceedings
If there are additional stages to the Employment Tribunal proceedings the costs will be higher. Additional stages include:
- Making or responding to additional applications, for example applications for specific disclosure, to strike out a claim, to seek additional time to take a step in the process, to seek an unless order to compel the other side to complete a step in the process.
- Joining additional parties or dealing with additional parties.
- Amending pleadings.
- Dealing with appeals
Further costs that can arise
- If you need advice on pensions we can refer you to a specialist who will discuss directly with you any costs.
- When advocacy is required in the Employment Tribunal we generally instruct counsel.
The basis of our charges
The current members of our team and their hourly rates are as follows:
- Founder and managing partner – £500
- Partner – £450
- Associate solicitor – £250 to £400
- Trainee solicitor – £150
- Paralegal – £100
These hourly rates do not include VAT (currently at 20%).
Disbursements are payable In addition to these charges. Disbursements are amounts we pay to third parties for expenses such as travel costs and counsel’s fees.
Examples of fees in practice
To provide an illustration of the likely legal fees that could arise in Employment Tribunal litigation we have divided Employment Tribunal claims into three bands according to complexity.
Factors that make cases more complex
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if an employee is dismissed after making a public interest disclosure (blowing the whistle on the employer).
- If there are allegations of discrimination or other claims which are linked to the dismissal.
- If there are multiple claimants or respondents to the claim.
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim.
- Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties) or whether the tribunal is able to hear the claim due to jurisdictional or time limit issues.
- The number of witnesses and documents. If there is a large volume of documents it may be necessary to use e-disclosure software to manage the process.
- Evidence of expert witnesses including experts’ reports.
- Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person.
- Making or defending a costs application.
Our pricing guideline
The likely legal costs (excluding VAT) could run into:
£25,000-£40,000 – lasting 1-2 days
Medium complexity case
£40,000-£100,000 – lasting 2-4 days
High complexity case
£100,000-£150,000 – lasting 5 days or more
These figures are all based on the case continuing through to a full hearing at the Employment Tribunal. In reality most cases are settled before the opening day in the Employment Tribunal.
Each day of an Employment Tribunal hearing will incur a charge based on the time spent and the hourly rate of the lawyer. This will typically be over £1,500 (excluding VAT) per day. In addition counsel’s fees will be incurred each day that the hearing continues (see below). These costs are included within the bands of fees outlined above.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as counsel’s fees, expert’s fees, travel expenses and court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Counsel’s fees vary according to the experience of the individual counsel. Fees for a hearing are usually based on a brief fee which covers the cost of preparation and the first day of the hearing and “refresher” or a daily rate which is payable for the second and each subsequent day of the hearing. Typical fees for counsel (excluding VAT) are as follows:
- Brief fee £1,500-£3,500
- Refresher £1000-2000
Medium complexity case:
- Brief fee £3,500-£11,000
- Refresher £1000-3000
High complexity case:
- Brief fee £5,000-60,000
- Refresher £1500- 5000