Charges – Employment tribunal claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal
What Is Wrongful Dismissal? – this is a claim where an employer terminates the employee’s contract of employment without giving notice or sufficient notice prescribed by the contract of employment or by law. Essentially it is a claim for breach of contract.
What is Unfair Dismissal? – this is a claim where a contract of employment is terminated otherwise than for a “fair reason” (as defined by law) and the employer did not act reasonably in treating that reason as a sufficient reason for the termination. Essentially this is a claim created by Act of Parliament.
A claim may well arise for both Wrongful and Unfair Dismissal.
We do our best to be fair to our clients. We regard our relationship with our clients as an individual and personal relationship and not a “one size fits all”. However, these are only guidelines and are not to be regarded as any representation or offer to you for contractual purposes nor can they form part of any agreement or retainer with you to perform any services even if you do instruct us. Our charges are always subject to a formal retainer.
All fee earning work is carried out by our solicitor who has 30 years’ experience.
It is always worth the phone call to discuss your case so we can provide a personal estimate.
There are three main elements to legal costs in claiming or defending a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal:
- “Our Charges” – these are our fees for the work we carry out on your file ; and
- “Expenses” we must pay out of your behalf; and
- “Third Party Costs” costs that you may have to pay another party
- Our Charges
Our charges are based on an hourly rate of £250. We reserve the right to increase the hourly rates if the work done is particularly complex or urgent, or the nature of your instructions require us to work outside normal office hours. If this happens, we will notify you in advance and agree an appropriate rate. We will review our hourly rates annually in January. We will give you advance notice of any change to our hourly rates.
The above charges do not include VAT, which we will add to your bill at the prevailing rate.
Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal depends upon various factors. Very rough guidelines are
Simple case: £2500 -5000 (excluding VAT)
Medium complexity case: £5000- £15,000 (excluding VAT)
High complexity case: minimum £15,000 – £30,000 (excluding VAT)
Factors that could make a case more complex or expensive are:
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim or attend Tribunal case management hearings
- 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 an additional charge for attending a final Tribunal Hearing of £500 per day for a Simple Case or £500 – 1000 per day in medium or highly complex claims. This does not include travel costs or reasonable hotel costs if necessary. A final hearing of a simple case would be expected to last one day. In cases of medium complexity, the length of a final hearing is likely to be 3-5 days, complex cases, more than that. These charges are exclusive of VAT.
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 strengths and weaknesses and likely compensation (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 claim or response
- Considering a claim or response from another party
- Considering and exploring potential settlement throughout the process, whether that be of part of the claim or points to narrow the issues to contain costs
- Preparing or reviewing a schedule of loss and advising you on the same
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing (limited to two such Hearings or Case Management Conferences)
- Exchanging documents with the other party
- 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 case list
- Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel
The above is a basic guide to the process but may vary according to your case, more or less. This will affect the work required and the costs. If you wish to carry out some work yourself, for example you may prepare the first drafts of witness statements, this may be helpful in reducing costs.
The most expensive stages of a case are H-M. On average, two thirds of the total costs are incurred after Stage G.
We would normally expect to incur expenses in dealing with your case. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process and are payable in advance on account. These may involve:
Tribunal Fees – these have previously been payable by a Claimant -in the region of £250 to commence a claim plus a hearing free of £950 but these have been outlawed at present. We will advise if reintroduced.
Barrister’s fees – Counsel is generally required to attend both preliminary, case management and final hearings depending upon the complexity of the matter. They may also be asked to advise on specific points of law or practice.
Barristers’ fees will depend upon the complexity of the case and the seniority of the barrister required. Barristers charge an initial fee for preparation and attendance on the first day and then a lower rate for subsequent consecutive days attendance. In simple cases we would allow say £1500 plus VAT for the final hearing and £5000 plus VAT for cases of medium complexity. In complex cases the barristers fee would be discussed with you and negotiated between us and the barristers’ chambers.
Travel or Subsistence Expenses: We would only engage in hotel fees where necessary.
Copying: If the claim involves voluminous documentation, we would charge you copying expenses. We will agree these with you as far as possible
- Costs you may have to pay another party
The general rule in Employment Tribunal Proceedings is that the Tribunal does not order either party to pay the costs of the other, win or lose. So a winning Claimant cannot claim legal costs from the Defendant employer but an unsuccessful Claimant does not have to pay his employer’s costs. Similarly, if the Defendant employer wins he cannot claim any costs from the unsuccessful employee. There are rare exceptions to this rule which we can discuss with you.
- How long will your 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 3-6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 6-12 months for a simple case but more in claims of medium or high complexity – this will depend on court and barrister’s and solicitor’s availability on both sides. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.