The government is canvassing opinion on options to reform the law governing the use of...
The SRA obliges us to display on our website details about costs of bringing or defending claims in the Employment Tribunal, either a claim for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal (breach of contract).
Unfortunately, Employment Tribunal claims are not a ‘one size fits all’ as the amount of time and cost will depend on so many different factors.
However, what we set out below is based on our combined 80 years’ employment law experience in our team and based on the hundreds of employment tribunal claims we have brought or defended on behalf of clients.
How you will be charged
What we can tell you is that you will never be charged for:
- Work done by anyone other than one of our qualified solicitors or barristers;
- The supervision of one of our qualified solicitors or barristers.
We charge on a time basis and our current hourly charge out rates (which are reviewed annually) are as follows:
|Beverley Sunderland (Solicitor/Director)||£325 plus VAT|
|Kevin Charles (Consulting Barrister)||£315 plus VAT|
|Barry Ross (Solicitor/Director)||£285 plus VAT|
|Maria Hoeritzauer (Senior Associate Solicitor)||£270 plus VAT|
|Owen Dear (Associate Solicitor)||£250 plus VAT|
As we charge on a time basis then the more frequently you call or email us then the higher the charges. Also, the estimates below are based on full and timely co-operation with us, both from you as our client and also our opponent.
Our time is in units of 6 minutes which means that if you are on the telephone for 2 minutes you will be charged 1 unit, 10 minutes you will be charged 2 units. We also charge 1 unit for dictating an attendance note of any call we have with you.
We do not charge for time spent travelling but if we work whilst travelling then this is chargeable.
Every case is different in terms of the number of documents, number of witnesses, interaction with the other side and interim hearings which are listed by the Employment Tribunal. If the legal arguments are more complex this will increase the time for research and submissions.
A wrongful dismissal is a breach of contract claim and will either be because an employee has not been paid notice where they say it should have been, or where they say some other contractual process has not been followed leading up to their dismissal. Both will require the same process in the Tribunal, as the Tribunal will have to listen to evidence to decide if the employee did in fact commit a fundamental breach of contract entitling the employer to dismiss without notice, or hear evidence as to the actual processes followed.
Therefore, the following estimates for time are the same for both unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims in the Employment Tribunal only. Wrongful dismissal claims can also be brought in the County of High Court and different pricing will apply.
No fees are currently payable to bring an Employment Tribunal claim, although a Claimant can be asked to pay a deposit and, in exceptional cases, either party can be ordered to pay the costs of the other.
Before a claim can be lodged, it is necessary to go through early conciliation with ACAS. This can be done by the parties themselves.
Based on our 80 years plus experience the estimated time spent at each stage for bringing/defending a claim are set out below, the total cost ranges are based on a figure of £287.50 plus VAT per hour and will obviously need to be adjusted depending on which fee earner is dealing with your case:
Completing the Claim / Defence (ET1 and ET3)
This will require taking detailed instructions, reviewing the documents and condensing the information provided into succinct legal arguments.
The estimate for this is between 5-10 hours’ work, depending on the complexity. A straightforward unfair dismissal claim where the employer has not gone through a proper process will be at the lower end of this, but a complex constructive dismissal or discrimination claim will be at the higher end.
Total = £1,437.50 - £2,875 plus VAT
Case Management Discussion/Pre-Hearing Review
These are preliminary hearings which can either be administrative to agree what the issues are and set the hearing dates or they can be hearings at which key issues will be decided such as whether or not a Claimant is disabled. They will not be required in every case, generally only complex discrimination/whistleblowing cases. Often the Tribunal will issue standard directions but sometimes there will be the need to actually attend the Tribunal in person, because one party is not represented or because witness evidence is required.
On the basis that a preliminary hearing is required at an initial stage then the approximate time spent will be as follows:
- Preparing a bundle of documents – 4 hours
- Preparing a witness statement – 2-4 hours per statement
- Preparing submissions and legal argument – 2-6 hours depending on complexity
- Miscellaneous correspondence – 2 hours
- Attending the hearing – 1-5 hours depending on complexity and waiting time
Total = £3,162.50 - £6,037.50
If we are not successful in having the matter disposed of at the case management hearing then the next stages are:
- Full disclosure
- Witness statements
- Preparation of the bundle
- Preparation for the hearing
- Attendance at the hearing
This will depend on the number of documents and the co-operation of witnesses in providing them. For instance, if documents are sent in one by one then this can be more expensive as it means revisiting the index which is always chronological. We then have to read the documents to ascertain their relevance, whether they are privileged or whether they affect the prospects of success.
Therefore the amount of time spent will be very dependent on the number and complexity of the documents but disclosure can take between 5-10 hours of time for an average bundle of 250 pages.
Total = £1,437.50 - £2,875 plus VAT
These are the most important part of the case and it is our practice to take witness evidence in person, to ascertain how each witness will be perceived by the Tribunal and to test the evidence given. It will normally take about 2 hours to take the evidence and then between 3-5 hours to prepare each statement and have this checked by the witness. This is per witness and therefore the number of witnesses will dictate the cost.
Total = £2,875 - £4,025 plus VAT (based on two witness statements)
One party will be ordered to prepare the bundle and although this is normally the employer, it can also be the employee. We normally suggest that preparation of the bundle is our role as your adviser, as a poorly prepared bundle can cause more damage at the hearing and can prolong proceedings.
This will depend on the number of documents but can take between 2-5 hours for an average sized bundle of up to 250 pages.
Total = £575 - £1,437.50 plus VAT
This is out of our hands if our opponent is prone to sending long letters or requests for further and better particulars. However, on the basis that it is just ordinary correspondence then between 3-5 hours to deal with you, our opponent and ACAS.
Total = £862.50 - £1,437.50 plus VAT
Preparation of cross examination and legal argument:
3-5 hours per witness for preparation of cross examination and between 2-10 hours for submissions at the end, depending on legal complexity.
Total = £2,300 - £5,750 plus VAT (based on two witness statements)
Attendance at hearing:
- One day between 6-7 hours
- Overnight preparation 5 hours
- Second and subsequent days between 6-7 hours and 5 hours a night preparation
Total = £3,162 - £6,900 plus VAT (based on a one or two day hearing)
The following can also increase costs:
- Service of a Data Protection Act subject access request and our involvement in this
- Request for further and better particulars
- Service of a discrimination questionnaire (although these have been abolished there is still an ability to ask questions)
- Interim hearings requested by either party to discuss or decide issues
- Preparation of chronologies and cast lists (for complex hearings)
Excluding the miscellaneous matters above, the average range of a one to two day wrongful dismissal or unfair dismissal case, including a preliminary hearing is therefore: £15,812 – £31,337.50 plus VAT