BRINGING OR DEFENDING UNFAIR DISMISSAL AND/OR WRONGUL DISMISSAL CLAIMS – PRICE INFORMATION
We set out below relevant price information and estimates of costs as well as stages in typical claims for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal for employees (Claimants) bringing claims and employers (Respondents) defending them in the Employment Tribunal (ET). Our aim is to be as transparent as possible to help interested parties decide whether to consult and/or retain us to assist.
These price ranges are based on our knowledge and experience in handling these types of claims. Bear in mind that each case is fact specific and your own costs may be higher or lower depending on your specific circumstances. A more detailed estimate will be provided if you instruct us to work for you.
Typical and indicative overall fees (all figures exclude VAT and any Barrister’s fees):
£3,000 to £10,000 – for cases that are simple, involve only 2 parties in an ET hearing of one day or less, and are not evidence heavy for either the Claimant or the Respondent.
£10,000 – £25,000 – cases that are of medium complexity because, for example, there are more than 2 parties, or the evidence is extensive (such as large numbers of documents, emails and attachments) or also involve more complex issues (such as transfers of undertakings, whistle-blowing) and could result in a hearing or more than one day but fewer than 3 days.
£25,000 – £50,000 – in this category we place highly complex cases that involve more than 2 parties, could result in a hearing of more than 3 days or are likely to involve further layers of complexity either legally or factually (such as for example, where there is a need for expert witnesses, or several witnesses giving testimony on either or both sides).
We do have cases that occasionally incur fees in excess of £50,000 plus VAT and barrister’s fees, but these are not typical. We ensure that our client is aware from an early stage that the case is likely to fall into this bracket. These cases will often involve preliminary issues that have to be taken to a separate hearing and which may also involve complex legal or factual issues.
Although this guidance is concerned only with unfair and wrongful dismissal claims, there can be cases where a discrimination element or claim is linked with an unfair or wrongful dismissal claim. This will, in many cases, result in a cost increase that may take the case out of the brackets set out above.
Other factors that could make a case more complex:
- If on your behalf, we must make or defend applications to amend claims or if we must provide further information about an existing claim
- If we must make or defend an application for a deposit or application to strike out
- Where there are numerous preliminary issues, such as whether the claimant is out of time for issuing proceedings and where we must attend a preliminary hearing on behalf of our client
- The number of days required for the full hearing and any preliminary hearing
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. for whistleblowing and this is disputed by the employer
- In wrongful dismissal claims, if the employer brings a counterclaim against the employee
Although we normally charge our fees for this kind of employment work on an hourly rate basis (from £145 to £445) per hour plus VAT, depending on the seniority of lawyer involved) we also try to give indicative ‘milestone’ costs assessments along the way, to help our clients understand what level of costs are predicted and why.
VAT is charged on all our fees.
Disbursements are expenses necessarily incurred in handling the case. These may include payments to other entities or third parties (such as barristers, expert witnesses, court fees, mediation fees etc) We do not charge for photocopying and scanning unless it is for large volumes – as multiple ring-binders for hearing bundles.
If in discussions with us it is decided that the case is best handled by way of also retaining a specialist barrister for any hearing, the barrister’s fees are additional to our fees. Typically, the barristers we use regularly range in fee costs from £1,500 to £10,000 plus VAT initial (“brief”) fee: this includes preparation for the hearing and attendance on the first day. Thereafter, the barrister will charge for each extra day of a hearing at a flat rate, known as the “refresher” and these fees typically range from around £500 to £3,000 plus VAT. Fees are also charged by barristers for meetings with them and any additional written or telephone advice. The fees charged by barristers generally vary in accordance with seniority and experience.
On rare occasions we decide with our client to retain a senior barrister (“QC”) but this is very unusual for cases that are only concerned with unfair or wrongful dismissal. A QC’s fees can be substantially higher than a ‘junior’ barrister’s fees and it follows that retaining a QC is only done after due consultation with our client.
Steps in the process:
Our fees cover the following steps or ’milestones’ in a claim or defence:
- Taking your initial facts and details about the claim/defence
- Considering the papers and advising you on the merits of any potential claim or defence.
- Advising on possible remedies (often compensation)
- Entering into ACAS conciliation (parties are required to at least attempt to settlement via ACAS if they can)
- Drafting the claim or defence forms
- Advising on the claim or defence received from the other party to the case
- Exploring potential alternative ways to settle or resolve the matter (such as for example, mediation or a round table negotiation). Attending such processes and preparing a settlement agreement if one is required
- Preparing or reviewing a schedule of loss (detailed statement of the losses and expenses incurred by the party making the claim)
- Preliminary Hearings (there will not always be a Preliminary Hearing and even if there is one it may often be no more than a case management discussion and may be by telephone in simple cases). Where there is a ‘live’ hearing, we will prepare for this and attend (or retain a barrister to attend, in appropriate cases)
- Exchanging lists of potential evidence
- Disclosing and obtaining evidence by way of disclosure process whereby each party furnishes the other with the documents and evidence they will seek to rely upon or that the other party has specifically requested
- Interviewing witnesses and preparing draft witness statements
- Preparing the bundle of documents to be used at a hearing. Where we are acting for the Claimant, we normally seek to ensure the Respondent (employer) bears the primary burden and cost of bundle preparation
- Reviewing and advising on the other side’s witness statements
- Preparing and agreeing a list of issues
- Preparing and agreeing a chronology
- Preparing cast list of persons or entities involved in the matter
- Briefing a barrister. This will typically involve preparing a detailed briefing document and meeting with the barrister in their chambers to discuss the case. We encourage our client to attend this meeting not only to discuss the matter but to be introduce to the barrister who will be appearing for them at the eventual hearing
No case is entirely the same as another and there will be cases where some steps are not required at all.
You may have other funding options available such as legal expenses cover under an insurance policy. We can advise you on applying for funding under the policy.
We may very exceptionally take on cases on a no-win no-fee basis, also known as a damages-based agreement (‘DBA’). We retain absolute discretion in deciding whether to accept a case on a DBA basis and stress that it is not the norm. Full details would be set out in a DBA agreement.
- The unfair dismissal price range applies to claims which are for unfair dismissal only with no other accompanying claims. This means discrimination claims are not included whether they relate to the dismissal, or not. A separate estimate can be provided, on request.
- The price range for wrongful dismissal cases applies to wrongful dismissal/breach of contract claims in the employment tribunal only (maximum compensation £25,000) and does not apply to wrongful dismissal claims in the civil courts where there is no limit to any award.
- Although most cases do settle, we cannot give any guarantee that your case will settle – that depends on the attitude of the other party.
- Costs are not recoverable in the ET except in exceptional circumstances which means each party is normally (and will be assumed to be) responsible for its own costs.