Pricing – Businesses
Tribunal Proceedings – Businesses
Our average cost for defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal is below.
However, no one claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal is exactly the same. It depends on whether the claim has been brought by one employee or a group of employees and what has happened to lead to the dismissal of that person or persons and this differs in each case. It also depends on a range of other things, such as, the type of business and the nature of its operations, the role that the employee held in that business, the number of people / witnesses involved and the quality of any investigation and disciplinary and appeal processes (if any) and the time span over which the allegations relate. More detail on the kind of factors that may impact on the overall complexity and cost are set out below.
Consequently, the fee for any one matter may vary depending on the exact factors involved. It also depends on the person or persons that carry out the work who have different charging rates according to their qualifications and experience. We will always look to match you with a solicitor whose qualifications and experience are appropriate for the work we are doing for you. However, if something is particularly important to you, you are free to request someone with greater experience. This will, however, increase the overall cost.
That’s why we will always give you a specific costs estimate at the start of any matter taking into account the applicable facts and circumstances and the most appropriate fee earner, given your requirements. We will also advise you about any change in scope and / or any complication and discuss the potential impact on price before any additional charges are incurred.
Average Cost of Claim for Unfair Dismissal and / or Breach of Contract
Average cost: £15,356 (plus VAT)
The average cost has been arrived at according to the time spent on our hourly charge rates.
The current hourly rates that are applicable are as follows:
|All others (including trainee solicitors)||£150|
These hourly rates are subject to change and were last reviewed in Autumn 2018. Accordingly, the rates on which the average cost was calculated were between 10 and 20% lower than those shown above.
VAT will be added to all of the costs set out above. The current rate of VAT is 20% but this may vary.
The average cost is based on claims involving unfair dismissal (excluding anything which may amount to an automatic unfair dismissal) and / or constructive dismissal only. It does not include matters which may make the matter more complex and so, more costly. For example, additional allegations like discrimination or whistleblowing. It is a cost based on between 3 and 4 witnesses and with an average hearing length of between 2 and 4 days. If the matters in dispute are more limited, there are fewer witnesses and a lower estimate of the amount of time to complete the final hearing then, the cost may be less. Similarly, if there are more complex matters, more witnesses and a longer hearing then, the cost of a specific matter may be more.
The type of matters that could make a case more complex include:
- the type and size of the business concerned and the sector in which that business operates. For example, a claim against a public sector employer is likely to involve more detailed internal procedures than a smaller employer;
- the period of time over which the complaint is made. For example, a claim for constructive dismissal which has a long history will be more complex and longer than a matter which is limited to one allegation, such as, where an employee has failed to follow a manager’s instruction and has been dismissed as a consequence;
- if it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim;
- defending a claim brought by a litigant in person (an individual who has chosen to handle their own claim and who may not be not legally qualified and may have more limited experience of the processes involved with bringing a claim before the Employment Tribunal);
- making or defending a costs application or applications;
- making or defending an application or applications for a witness order;
- making or defending an application or applications for specific disclosure;
- complex preliminary issues, such as, whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties);
- attending a hearing to decide a preliminary matter (for example, to determine whether a claimant is a disabled person);
- the number of witnesses and documents involved with a specific matter;
- whether the claim is in relation to an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if an employee has been dismissed after blowing the whistle on their employer;
- allegations which relate to multiple legal areas and which are linked to the dismissal – for example, discrimination, whistleblowing, The Transfer of Undertakings (protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, breach of contract, failure to pay for holiday or accrued wages;
- whether there is more than one person bringing the claim or claims and whether there is more than one person who is having to defend that claims or those claims;
- where the claim has been brought not just against an employer but also against the employees of that employer in their personal capacities;
- the absence of an HR presence in the business;
- the claim involving an owner / manager; and
- the claim happening at the same time as a related legal action which is happening in the Criminal or Civil Courts. A claim before the Employment Tribunal may need to be placed on hold for a period of time in the event that there are criminal proceedings which relate to the same matter, i.e. when an employee has been dismissed because of theft.
In addition to the average cost set out above there will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing. The exact cost for this will depend on who is attending and for how long. However, assuming a full day’s attendance at the Tribunal is for 7 hours, this would amount to £2,100 per day (plus VAT) for a Partner and £1,050 per day (plus VAT) for a Trainee. However, this may vary according to the exact amount of time spent each day and the role held by the person attending.
We would expect most unfair dismissal and breach of contract claims to have around 4 witnesses in total and to last between 1 to 3 days.
If a barrister is instructed to represent you at the final hearing, then we would still charge of our attendance but it may be the case that we would not need to attend for the entire hearing. In this instance, we would only charge for the time we spent at the hearing. For example, if a Partner attended on the first morning of the hearing with the barrister (and before the hearing began) for 2 hours, the charge would be £300 per hour (plus VAT) together with the time it took to travel to and from the hearing (based on the hourly rate also).
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. Examples include:
- the cost paid to a doctor to obtain copies of relevant medical records;
- the cost to obtain a medical report on the nature and impact of a medical condition in a case involving disability discrimination; or
- the cost paid to a barrister instructed to handle a preliminary or final hearing of your matter.
We pay these people on your behalf to ensure a smoother process but require you to provide us with the money in advance. We will always notify you of these costs and get your prior approval before incurring these costs on your behalf.
We may use a barrister to deal with any final hearing. A barrister is a specialist lawyer used to give specialist advice and / or also to represent you at the final hearing. A barrister’s fee is estimated to be between:
- £2,000 to £3,500 plus VAT for the preparation for a Tribunal hearing plus representing you on the first day (depending on experience of the barrister used); and
- between £700 to £1,000 plus VAT for each additional day that the hearing continues beyond the first day.
This estimate is based on a barrister with around 10 to 15 years’ experience but it does depend on the experience of the barrister used. We will always try to match you with a barrister whose qualifications and experience are appropriate for the work that they are doing for you. Once again, you are free to request someone with greater experience but this will increase the overall cost. The cost of a barrister for a final hearing is front loaded to account for the fact that they have to spend a significant proportion of their time preparing in advance.
Key Stages of a Tribunal Claim
The 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 papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and is subject to change);
- entering into pre-claim conciliation to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
- reviewing and advising on the claim;
- preparing the response;
- preparing any request for further information in relation to the claim;
- considering any disability impact statement (disability discrimination claims only) and any related medical evidence and advising on the way forward;
- exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process;
- considering a schedule of loss and preparing a counter-schedule of loss;
- preparing for (and attending) a preliminary hearing;
- preparing a list of all relevant documents, exchanging those documents with the other party (or parties) and agreeing a bundle of documents for the hearing;
- making or defending any appropriate applications to the Employment Tribunal, such as, specific disclosure of documents, for a witness order or an application for costs;
- taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses;
- preparing bundles of documents for the hearing;
- reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements;
- agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list;
- preparation for and attendance at the final hearing, including instructions to any barrister and meetings with that barrister to discuss the case; and
- consideration of the final judgment and advising you on the content of it any next steps (if any).
The stages set out above are an indication only. Some of the stages may not be required. This may mean that the overall cost may be less but it could also be more, depending on whether we have built in all of the above into the cost estimate that we provide to you at the outset of the matter.
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 to suit your individual needs.
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 to 6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a final hearing, your case is likely to take 4 to 6 months from the claim being filed with the Tribunal. However, in a case where allegations of discrimination in relation to the dismissal are involved, it can take longer and may be nearer 9 months (or longer) to get to a final hearing.
These are estimates and we will, of course, be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as your matter progresses.
Who will handle my case?
The person who will handle your case will depend on the matter involved, its complexity and your budget. All of our fee earners who will work on your matter are qualified solicitors. Our Partners are our most experienced members of staff and consequently, come at the greatest cost.
We will endeavour to carry out the work we do for you in the most cost effective manner by having appropriate members of the team carry our appropriate tasks and giving overall responsibility to a fee earner who has the appropriate level of expertise and experience. However, you do have the ability to choose who handles your matter and, if you so wish, you can ask that it is handled by a Partner. This will come at a greater cost but we accept that some clients are happy to pay for this. Alternatively, others will be happy for a Solicitor, Associate or Senior Associate to handle the matter and this will reduce cost. We will provide you with a team to suit your requirements and the likelihood is that different fee earners will work on different tasks on your matter in order to best manage the cost.
Our quality standards dictate that a Partner will, ultimately, be responsible for your matter and therefore, will have an overall input into its strategy and direction.
The skills and expertise of our fee earners who are involved with defending claims before the Employment Tribunal can be found here.