Claimant’s Legal Costs – Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal
Introductory note: The following information is an illustrative guide only and is not a quote or an estimate. Individual costs will depend on individual cases.
VAT: Where vat is chargeable the rate will be in accordance with current tax rules
Our fees cover all the work which is required to take your claim to conclusion.
It will include providing you with advice and assistance in connection with your claim, attempting to negotiate a settlement of your claim, preparing your claim to be issued in the tribunal, assisting you in progressing your claim through the tribunal, preparing your claim for a hearing and representing you at any hearing.
Our fees are calculated by reference to your solicitor’s hourly charge out rate which, is set in accordance with their experience and is charged by units of 6 minutes.
The level of costs will very much depend on the complexity of the matter.
In some cases disbursements may also be incurred. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties such as experts’ fees. In some cases it will also be necessary to appoint a barrister.
You may also wish to handle some of the claim yourself and only seek our advice in relation to some of the stages. In these circumstances we can agree a limited retainer.
As a privately paying client, you would be responsible for all our costs charged in accordance with our hourly rates, plus VAT and all disbursements.
Conditional Fee Arrangements or “a no win no fee arrangement”
It is possible for a solicitor to enter into an agreement with their client, that the solicitor’s costs will only become payable in the event that damages are awarded. This firm do not offer Conditional Fee Arrangements in unfair or wrongful dismissal claims.
Legal Expenses Insurance
You may have legal expenses insurance, membership of a union or other organisation which might provide legal assistance, or cover for legal work.
Damage Based Agreements
It is possible for a solicitor to enter into an agreement with their client, that the solicitor’s costs will be based on a fixed percentage of any damages awarded. This firm does not offer damage based agreements. If you would like to pursue your claim with a DBA you would need to contact another firm of solicitors.
How much will the legal fees be?
Costs may vary considerably as much will depend on how the other side respond, the directions that are made, whether a preliminary hearing is required and the duration of the full hearing.
The stages set out below are an indication of the usual stages that may be followed to a hearing. In the event the claim settles at an earlier stage the fees will be significantly less.
In straightforward unfair and/or wrongful dismissal cases which reach conclusion before a hearing costs are likely to be in the region of £2,500 to £5,000 (excluding VAT).
This fee estimate assumes:
- There are no complicating factors (see below for detail of fees in cases of medium and high complexity); and
- Both parties are represented.
Medium Complexity cases
In moderately complex unfair and/or wrongful dismissal cases which reach conclusion before a hearing costs are likely to be in the region of £3,000 to £6,000 (excluding VAT).
This fee estimate assumes:
- There may be some complicating factors (see below for detail of fees in cases of medium and high complexity); and
- Both parties are represented.
High Complexity cases
In highly complex unfair and/or wrongful dismissal cases which reach conclusion before a hearing costs are likely to be in the region of £4,000 to £8,000 (excluding VAT).
This fee estimate assumes:
- There may be significant complicating factors (see below for detail of fees in cases of medium and high complexity); and/or
- One of the parties may not be represented.
Factors which may make a case more complex
- Where the Claimant’s status and entitlement to bring the claim is also subject to a dispute i.e. are they are an employee, worker or genuinely self-employed.
- Contributory fault is raised or an application is made for a reduction of any award because the employer’s failings did not ultimately affect the outcome.
- A counterclaim is made.
- Constructive unfair dismissal claims.
- There is more than one Defendant.
- An application for the claim to be struck out or for a deposit order has been made.
- Making an unless Order. If you do not comply with an Order made by the Employment Tribunal you risk part (or all) of your claim being struck out.
- Interlocutory Applications. A provisional decision given during the course of a legal action.
- If a preliminary hearing is needed. The Employment Tribunal will set the matter for a preliminary hearing where clarification be needed as to the issues that are subject to the dispute or as to the identity of the parties to the dispute.
- Cases involving whistleblowing/protected disclosure.
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or provide further and better particulars.
- Handling matters where one of the parties is a litigant in person.
- An application for a witness order.
- The number of witnesses required.
- Where it is necessary to make or defend a costs application.
In matters also which include claims of discrimination an estimate will be provided by reference to the type of claim made and level of complexity.
There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal hearing of £1,250 to £1,500 per day (excluding VAT). Generally we allow 1-2 days for a hearing in a simple case and between 3–5 in more complex cases.
Counsel (a barrister) may also be instructed to represent you at a hearing. On the basis of a two day hearing Counsel’s fees are likely to be in the region of £1,000 to £1,500 per day (excluding VAT). Counsel’s fees will vary depending on the length of the hearing, the complexity of the case and the level of barrister instructed.
- Tribunal fees are no longer payable.
- Experts are only generally required in claims involving discrimination.
Stages of the process in the employment tribunal
The precise stages involved will vary from case to case depending on the particular circumstances of the case. Many cases will also settle before a hearing. In the event the claim settles at an earlier stage the fees will be significantly less.
These stages apply equally to claims of unfair or wrongful dismissal.
- Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on the merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change).
- Enter into pre-claim ACAS conciliation (which is mandatory requirement) to explore whether a settlement can be reached.
- The first step in presenting a claim to employment tribunal is completion of the claim form (ET1) outlining your case and the nature of the dispute. This must be filed within three months less one day from the date of dismissal.
- Particulars of Claim – This is a document that sets out the factual details of your claim and the legal basis for it and will generally be filed with the ET1.
- Exploring settlement options and attempting to negotiate a settlement throughout the process.
- Preparing the schedule of loss.
- Reviewing the response form which is filed by the respondent (ET3) – It is filed by the respondent within 28 days of the ET1 being served.
- If the respondent makes a counterclaim it will be necessary to review the claim (ET2) provide you with advice and prepare a response.
- Preparing for and attending a preliminary hearing. A matter is generally listed for a preliminary hearing where the Employment Tribunal needs to identify the issues or, where an application may have been made for the claim to be struck out.
- Case Management Hearing. Employment tribunals will generally set the matter for a case management hearing when it is necessary for them to identify what directions/steps may need to be taken by the parties to ensure that the matter is properly prepared.
- Case management directions. These are the steps the tribunal require the parties to take leading up to a hearing and will include dates by which certain steps must be taken for example exchanging documents or witness statements.
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses.
- Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statement(s).
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and details/order of those giving evidence.
- Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents.
- Preparation for the final hearing, including where necessary instructions to Counsel.
Reconsideration & Appeal of Judgements
- An Employment Tribunal may reconsider the judgement where it is in the interests of justice to do so. They may do this upon receipt of an application from either party or upon their own initiative. In the event of a reconsideration of judgement we will provide you with an estimate of the costs likely to be incurred in advising and representing you.
- Each party may make an appeal to an Employment Tribunal but only on a question of law. If there is an Appeal this will have a considerable impact on costs. Our initial retainer would not normally cover any appeal which may be brought or resisted. In the event of an Appeal we will provide you with further and separate advice in relation to the costs of bringing or resisting the Appeal.
How long will my matter take?
The time it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of the matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during the pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take up to six weeks. The ET1 claim form must be filed at the tribunal within three months less one day from the date of dismissal. If your claim proceeds to a final hearing, your case is likely to take five to six months in cases of simple unfair dismissal. In cases also involving discrimination claims it make take up to twelve months to reach a final hearing.
Recovering your costs
Costs do not naturally follow the event in the Employment Tribunal. As such, if you are successful in your claim there is no guarantee that an order will also be made entitling you to recover your costs from your employer in addition to any compensation awarded.
Circumstances when you may be ordered to pay your employer’s costs
The Employment Tribunal has discretion to make a costs or a preparation time order where it considers that –
- a party (or that party’s representative) has acted vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or otherwise unreasonably in either the bringing of the proceedings(or part) or the way the proceedings (or part) have been conducted; or
- any claim or response had no reasonable prospect of success.