This statement is designed to help consumers make informed choices when selecting legal service providers and is provided in accordance with the SRA Transparency Rules.
As a firm, we act for businesses on the full range of Employment Tribunal matters, including defending unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims. Given the variables inherent in any Tribunal process, it is difficult to predict the amount of work or the costs involved. By way of a guide, our fees for defending an unfair or wrongful dismissal claim are likely to be in the range of £20,000 plus VAT (for a simple case involving, for example, a one-day hearing, one witness and few documents) to over £100,000 plus VAT (for a more complex case) (in each case, excluding disbursements). Most of our work tends to involve acting for businesses on the more complex cases. Information on our fees for Employment Tribunal claims other than unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal (e.g. discrimination claims) is available on request.
Personnel and basis of charges
Our charges are generally based on time spent by reference to our hourly charge out rates which vary depending on the solicitor's level of qualification. Our current charge out rates for this type of work range from £230 plus applicable VAT per hour for a Trainee or Paralegal to £870 plus applicable VAT per hour for a senior Partner. We will always endeavour to ensure that the person at the most appropriate level of qualification carries out the work so clients are provided with the most cost effective service. All work is supervised by our Partners who all have over nine years' experience in employment law and Tribunal litigation. Partners will typically be assisted by Senior Associates (with at least five years' experience in employment law), Associates (with up to five years' relevant experience) or Trainees and Paralegals. Our Partner profiles are available here. We are happy to provide prospective clients with further details of our proposed team on any matter.
The following key stages are included in the above estimates:
- Instructions and advice: taking your initial instructions and advising you on general prospects and strategy;
- Response: reviewing the claim and preparing the defence;
- Documents: compiling a list of all of the relevant documents, managing the disclosure exercise with the Claimant and compiling the hearing bundle. We would also review all of the disclosed documents and deal with any simple disclosure requests arising out of the process;
- Schedule of loss: reviewing the Claimant's schedule of loss and commenting on it, including preparing a counter-schedule of loss where required;
- Preliminary hearing: preparing for and attending preliminary hearings regarding case management directions;
- Instructing Counsel: identifying and instructing suitable Counsel, preparing copies of documents for Counsel and liaising with Counsel about the case;
- Witness statements: interviewing the relevant witnesses, drafting witness statements and finalising the contents with the relevant witnesses;
- General preparation for hearing: including reviewing the Claimant's witness evidence, liaising in relation to the trial bundle and working with Counsel in the build up to the hearing; and
- Attendance at, and associated work during, the hearing: we attend the hearing to instruct Counsel.
The stages set out above are an indication only and, if some stages are not required, this is likely to reduce the fee estimate – e.g. if the client decides to handle some aspects of the case themselves. The above estimate does not include time spent (if any) in discussions about settlement of the litigation or any time preparing or defending a costs application. It would also not include responding to any subject access requests brought by the Claimant.
Factors affecting cost
Factors that could increase costs include:
- If it is necessary to make or defend an application requesting further information about a claim or defence, or to amend the claim or defence;
- If it is necessary to make or defend an application about preliminary issues, such as employment status or time limits;
- If any side disputes arise with the Claimant, e.g. about disclosure or other procedural aspects or preliminary issues which require correspondence and/or preliminary hearings;
- Defending claims brought by self-represented or poorly-represented Claimants or Claimants whose representatives engage in tactics designed to consume time and resource;
- Making or defending a costs application;
- Where the case involves a significant number of documents or witnesses, or the facts or allegations are particularly complex;
- Where the claim involves an allegation of automatically unfair dismissal, e.g. the employee alleges they were dismissed for blowing the whistle; and
- If the matter is postponed at the request of one of the parties or due to the unavailability of an Employment Tribunal Judge.
Disbursements are costs related to the matter which are payable to third parties, which we pay on the client's behalf. The main disbursements are the fees for the barrister or Counsel who will argue the case in the Tribunal. These are structured as a brief fee plus a refresher for attending the hearing and depend on the seniority of the barrister, their level of expertise and complexity of the case. By way of a guide, brief fees might range from £1,500 plus VAT (for a junior barrister on a simple case involving, for example, a one-day hearing) to £50,000 plus VAT or more (for a senior barrister on a complex case, for example, involving complex whistleblowing allegations). The refresher fee might be anywhere between £500 plus VAT to £5,000 plus VAT per day after the first day of the hearing. Before instructing a barrister on behalf of a client, we would seek to provide a more accurate estimate based on the precise nature of the case. Other disbursements may include costs associated with couriers, photocopying, conference calls and document production or review.
The time that it takes from taking initial instructions to the final resolution of the matter depends largely on the stage at which the case is resolved. If a settlement is reached early on, the case may only take 2-4 weeks. If the claim proceeds to a hearing, it could take around 9-18 months (depending on Tribunal listings). These are just estimates and we would of course provide a more accurate estimate based on the nature of the case.
The information provided in this statement is of a general nature; we always endeavour to give clients a more accurate assessment of costs in relation to each specific case, as well as regular updates as the case progresses.