It is an unfortunate reality that employment law disputes that cannot be resolved in the workplace or through mediation may end up in an employment tribunal.
Generally straightforward cases will be heard by an employment judge whilst typically more complex cases such as discrimination are normally heard by a panel of three people: a legally qualified employment judge and representatives of both the employer and employee. Although they are less formal than courts, tribunal decisions are legally binding, published on a government website and must be followed by both employer and employee. It is therefore crucial that both parties in a case that goes to tribunal have first-class, experienced representation to ensure that their perspective is presented compellingly and comprehensively.
Our expert lawyers are experienced in successfully representing both employees and employers in employment tribunals.
Employment tribunal costs for employees
Advising on claims for unfair dismissal and breach of contract
Our costs for advising employers on such claims are based solely on the amount of time we spend on each matter. This can vary considerably as each matter is unique and there are many factors that can affect the amount of time it will take to pursue or defend a claim, including:
The nature of the claim (whether it involves an actual dismissal or whether it is a claim alleging that the employer’s conduct was so bad the employee was entitled to resign and claim dismissal)
The number of witnesses from whom it will be necessary to obtain evidence to produce a statement
Whether there are any hearings or applications before the actual hearing of the substantive issues
The number of days for which a case is listed by a tribunal to be heard
As soon as we are instructed, we will provide an estimate of the cost likely to be incurred based on our experience of similar matters. 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 and send monthly invoices.
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 £180 to £370. All of our charges are subject to VAT. Our costs include telephone and postage costs and also the cost of photocopying (unless we are required to copy a substantial number of documents in which we would inform you of the additional cost before proceeding). Our costs do not include the cost of travel to and from meetings or tribunal hearings, courier fees and copying of substantial volumes of paper.
Barristers’ fees will depend upon:
The extent of their involvement in any pre-hearing work
The complexity of the issues and the evidence
Their seniority within our firm
The length of time needed to prepare the case and the length of any hearing
Typically, barristers will charge a brief fee, covering the time required to prepare a case for trial and the first day of the trial and a separate fee for any subsequent days at trial. Brief fees typically range from £1,500 for a single-day hearing to £30,000-50,000 if a matter is listed for two weeks. Subsequent daily rates may vary from £1,000 to £5,000 a day. All of these figures are exclusive of VAT.
Examples of fees
We are including these illustrative examples to provide an indication of the range of potential costs for tribunal cases and help you understand how we will charge for your work.
Unfair dismissal / wrongful dismissal claims
Simple claim (e.g. a claim relating to redundancy or involving a single act of misconduct) – £10,000-£20,000 plus VAT
Medium complexity claim (e.g. a claim involving a series of acts of misconduct or involving dismissal for capability) – £15,000-£70,000 plus VAT
High complexity claim (e.g. claims involving whistleblowing or discrimination) – £50,000 - £250,000 plus VAT
These costs include:
Receiving initial instructions
Considering relevant documents and providing preliminary advice
Drafting response for approval and submission to the tribunal
Reviewing and disclosing all relevant documents
Preparing and agreeing witness statements for our client and reviewing and reviewing the opposing witness statements, plus discussing the statements with your witnesses and considering whether to prepare any supplementary evidence
Considering any Schedule of Loss (the sums being claimed)
Preparing witnesses and case for the tribunal hearing
Instructing counsel (if appropriate)
Attending the tribunal hearing
Receiving and forwarding to you any written judgment
The following factors will tend to make a case more complicated:
The issues involved (for example, whether it is a ‘simple’ unfair dismissal or a more complex case such as a constructive unfair or wrongful dismissal claim or an unfair dismissal claim based on whistleblowing
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 our client or the tribunal (for example, whether the claim has been brought in time, applications to strike out all or part of the claim or applications for deposit orders)
Making or defending applications to amend the claim or defence or to provide further and better particulars
The factors that may increase costs include:
The amount of time available for undertaking work (for example, preparing for trial in a very short time frame may cause costs to increase)
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
Budget tribunal service
We are pleased to also offer a ‘budget’ tribunal claim service, relying largely on standardised processes and procedures. This service is suitable for straightforward wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal claims listed for one day only. The cost is capped at £11,500 plus VAT. Costs are incurred on a time spent basis but will not exceed the capped price. The budget tribunal service is suitable for cases listed for two days but there will be an increased cost.
The cost includes:
Receipt of initial instructions
Drafting response to the claim
Disclosing relevant documents
Drafting up to 2 witness statements
Attending the hearing and advocacy
Advice in respect of the tribunal decision
Costs associated with photocopying and other office related disbursements
The capped price does not include time spent seeking to negotiate a settlement. Those costs would be paid for separately at the relevant fee earner’s hourly rate. It also does not include travel costs and courier fees.
Additional costs will be incurred in the event of applications and pre-hearing reviews requiring additional correspondence or attendance at tribunal:
Applications – £850 plus VAT per application
Pre-hearing reviews – £1500 plus VAT per case management discussion (half day)
It is very difficult to estimate timescales as these will depend on a number of factors, including 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 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 an approximate guide, we would expect a hearing to be listed 6 – 12 months after the submission of the Claim Form but this will vary and may be considerably longer – especially if a case is listed for several days.
Who we help
Our employment lawyers are highly experienced in representing both employees and employers from a wide range of domestic and international organisations in employment tribunals.