We provide employment law services to employers, employees and to trade unions across a range of issues, from advisory work, transactional advice to contentious claims in the Employment Tribunal and the civil courts.
We advise on the full gamut of employment law issues that a business or an individual may face, including advice on employment contracts and policies, employment law disputes in employment tribunals and the civil courts, equality and diversity advice, outsourcing and TUPE advice, team moves and injunctions, trade union advice and advice on status.
We understand that our clients need to know the potential charges they may face in respect of us providing legal services. This applies whether they have a significant corporate budget to manage or are an individual with limited resources. When we commence acting on behalf of a client we will provide a clear and straightforward explanation about how we will charge for the services we provide. If a case involves bringing or defending a claim in an employment tribunal or in the civil courts we will provide details of the steps that might be needed, the likely timescale and the potential costs.
We generally charge on the basis of the time taken to deal with a matter. We apply agreed hourly rates which is determined at the commencement of a matter. VAT will be added to the hourly charge out rate quoted.
In some circumstances, we will agree a fixed fee for work that we are asked to undertake. This may be appropriate where the type of work is discrete and where there are unlikely to be unexpected contingencies. For example, a fixed fee may be appropriate where a client wants us to draft an employment contract or an employment policy.
Our hourly charge out rates for non-contentious work range from £250 to £375 per hour plus VAT depending on the nature of the work, the complexity of the matter, the timescale within which the work is required and the seniority of the person undertaking the work.
For contentious work, i.e. when a dispute is to be litigated in an employment tribunal or the civil courts, our hourly charge out rates vary between £300 to £375 per hour plus VAT.
Some clients may have insurance that will cover the cost of an unfair dismissal claims and possibly other employment law claims. Clients need to check their insurance policy before instructing us to find out if their costs could be met by insurance. If a client proceeds to instruct us before receiving authorisation from their insurance company, they may find that their insurer is not willing to reimburse them for costs incurred.
Clients may be able to obtain services where no charge is made. For example the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Free Representation Unit or other free advice services may be available. We will refer clients to such service providers if we are not able to provide you with advice within your budget.
We do not provide services on a contingency basis.
Costs in bringing claims in an employment tribunal
It is difficult to provide general estimates in relation to employment tribunal claims as the costs that may be incurred will depend on a range of factors. Examples of factors that can affect the fees include:
- The complexity of the legal and factual issues involved
- Whether a case simply relates to unfair dismissal or involves other areas of employment law
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
- Making or defending a costs application
- Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
- Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
- The number of witnesses that may need to be called
- The extent of documentation that may need to be considered
- The venue for an employment tribunal and the extent of travel required
- The length of a tribunal hearing and whether there is a separate remedy hearing in addition to a hearing dealing with the merits of a claim
- Whether expert evidence will need to be called
- The value of the claim
- The extent to which facts are disputed
- Whether forensic analysis will need to be undertaken
- Whether the party against whom you are litigating is co-operative
- The number of preliminary hearings that may need to be undertaken.
If a client wants us to act in relation to an unfair dismissal claim, we will provide an estimate at the commencement of the claim as to the potential costs. As time proceeds we will adjust this estimate if the position changes significantly. It is difficult to give a typical cost as employment tribunal claims can vary from very simple claims where a hearing may take a day and the issues are straightforward. In other cases the matter may be complex, involve multiple applications and where a hearing takes several weeks to conclude.
Average costs can be in the region of between £50,000 to £75000 plus VAT and disbursements but they can be significantly different from this depending on the nature of the case.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Disbursement costs can include barristers’ fees and court fees. The potential level of these disbursement costs will be discussed with a client at the point a client decides to initiate proceedings or is faced with defending a claim. Barristers fees can be widely different depending on the nature of the tribunal or court appearance they are being asked to undertake, the experience of the advocate and the amount of preparation they are being asked to undertake. Barristers fees can range from £1000 plus VAT for a simple one day hearing for a very junior barrister to £10,000 plus VAT or more for a very experienced barrister in a complex, multi-day tribunal hearing.
Employment tribunal claims can take 12 to 15 months to complete from taking initial instructions to obtaining a remedy. On many occasions claims will settle without having to commence proceedings in an employment tribunal. The length of time a case will depend on a variety of factors including whether the parties are willing to discuss settlement, the tribunal concerned, the likely length of a hearing, the number of hearings that are required and the availability of witnesses.
Key stages in a typical employment tribunal claim include the following:
- Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation/award against you (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
- Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party
- Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
- If acting for a claimant, preparing or considering a schedule of loss
- If acting for a respondent, reviewing and considering a schedule of loss
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
- Reviewing relevant documents, preparing a list of documents and 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 for use at the employment tribunal hearing
- Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
- Drafting and agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
- Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to your barrister.
The stages set out above are an indication of some of the steps that may be taken in an employment tribunal claim. If more or fewer steps are taken it will affect the fee. Clients may want to undertake some of these steps in order to limit their costs and we will work with you to assist in that process.