Employment disputes for employees

Employment tribunal - our costs

Our costs for advising employees on claims for unfair dismissal and breach of contract are, unless otherwise stated or agreed, based solely on the amount of time we spend on each matter. 

The amount of time spent dealing with each matter can vary considerably as each matter is unique. There are many factors that can affect the amount of time it will take to pursue or defend a claim; however, these can include:

  1. The nature of the claim, whether it involves an actual dismissal or, whether it is a claim which alleges the employer’s conduct was so bad the employee was entitled to resign and claim they have been dismissed;
  2. The number of witnesses from whom it will be necessary to obtain evidence and for whom a statement must be produced;
  3. Whether there are any hearings or applications before the actual hearing of the substantive issues;
  4. The number of days for which a case is listed by a tribunal to be heard. 

At the outset of every matter, we will provide an estimate of the cost likely to be incurred. This will normally be an estimate based upon our experience of similar matters. However, given the nature of litigation, it is likely that the estimate will be reviewed as the matter progresses, particularly when the tribunal has listed a matter to be heard. We will keep you updated on the costs incurred on a monthly basis.

Hourly rates

The hourly rate charged will vary depending upon the level of experience of the person dealing with the matter. We will assign a suitably qualified and experienced person to deal with each matter. Our hourly rates range from £170 to £360. All of our charges are subject to VAT. Included within the costs are:

  • All telephone and postage costs;
  • Photocopying, except in instances where we are required to copy a substantial number of documents. If we propose to charge for copying we would advise before undertaking the copying and estimate the cost.

Disbursements not included in our costs include:

  • The cost of travel to and from meetings or tribunal hearings;
  • Any fees incurred in couriering documents;
  • Barristers’ fees;
    These will depend upon: 
    • the extent of their involvement in any pre-hearing work;
    • the complexity of the issues and the evidence; 
    • their seniority; 
    • the likely length of time needed to prepare the case, and ;
    • the length of any hearing.

      Typically barristers will charge (i) a Brief Fee to cover the time required to prepare a case for trial, to include the first day; this also will include a cost to book time in their diary and (ii) fees for any subsequent days at trial. Brief Fees may range from £1,000 for a single day hearing to £30,000-50,000 if a matter is listed for two weeks. Daily rates, thereafter, may vary from £1,000 to £5,000 a day. All of these figures are exclusive of VAT.

Examples of fees

The following examples are intended to provide a range of costs for tribunal cases. They are illustrative examples to help you judge how we will charge for your work.  

Unfair dismissal/Wrongful dismissal claims

  • Simple claim - £5,000 - £15,000 plus VAT
    (e.g. a dismissal arising from a single act of misconduct or a dismissal involving redundancy)
  • Medium complexity claim - £12,500 - £30,000 plus VAT 
    (e.g. a claim arising from a series of alleged acts of misconduct)
  • High complexity claim - £25,000 - £100,000 plus VAT
    (e.g. a claim involving allegations of discrimination or whistleblowing)

Our costs include:

  1. Receiving initial instructions;
  2. Considering relevant documents and providing preliminary advice;
  3. Drafting Claim Form for approval and submission to the tribunal;
  4. Receiving and considering the former employer’s response;
  5. Reviewing and disclosing all relevant documents;
  6. Reviewing and considering with you the employer’s disclosed documents; 
  7. Preparing and agreeing witness statements in support of your claim;
  8. Reviewing and considering the witness statements prepared in support of your claim; discussing the employer’s witnesses statements with you and your witnesses and considering whether to prepare any supplementary evidence;
  9. Preparing and agreeing on a Schedule of Loss (i.e. the sums being claimed);
  10. Preparing witnesses and case for the tribunal hearing;
  11. Instructing a barrister, if appropriate, to represent you in tribunal;
  12. Attending the tribunal hearing;
  13. Receiving and forwarding to you any written judgment. 

    Factors which make a case more complicated and may increase costs

    • The issues involved, for example, whether it is a “simple” unfair dismissal, or more complex such as a constructive unfair, or wrongful dismissal claim; or an unfair dismissal claim based on whistleblowing or involving allegations involving elements of discrimination. 
    • The number of issues involved and whether there are claims other than unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal being made.
    • Where the claim is for breach of contract, any counter-claim by the employer.
    • The number of witnesses involved/who give evidence.
    • Making applications to the tribunal for disclosure of specific documents.
    • Having to respond to applications made by the former employer or the tribunal, for example, whether the claim has been brought in time; applications to strike out all or part of the claim; applications for deposit orders.
    • Making or defending applications to amend the claim or defence or to provide further and better particulars of the claim.

    Other factors that may increase costs will also include:

    • The amount of time available for undertaking work, for example, if we are asked to prepare for trial in a very short time frame that may cause costs to increase.
    • The amount of time we spend dealing with queries or concerns from our client.
    • The length of time for which a matter is listed.
    • Applications being made that require attendance at a hearing.
    • The involvement of another party.
    • The need to consider issues other than breach of contract or unfair dismissal.


    It is very difficult to estimate timescales as these will depend upon the tribunal in which the claim is commenced, whether there are any interim hearings prior to the main hearing and the length of time for which the matter is listed.

    Tribunals list more cases to be heard on a day than they can hear. They do this on the basis that many cases will settle prior to a hearing. It is possible that hearings may be adjourned at short notice by the tribunal because the tribunal does not have the capacity to hear them on a particular day. This may result in a matter being adjourned for several months.

    As a guide, we would expect a hearing to be listed 6-12 months after the submission of the claim form. However, this will vary and may be considerably longer.

    We have 12 members of the team who may work on your matter.  Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by either Barry Stanton, Helen Goss or Michael Farrier; all partners in the Employment team. We will let you know who this will be in advance of commencing work. For details of the team click here.

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