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With over 200,000 claims a year, employment tribunals have become a common part of law practice. If you have a dispute with an employer, our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to advise you through every step of the process, from preparing a response to representing you at the hearing.

We’ve worked on employment tribunal claims and appeals, thanks to close relationships with specialist employment barristers we can instruct them and can represent you all the way to the final hearing. We’ll always try to find alternative solutions to the problem if we can, and we’re really experienced in making settlements on a ‘without prejudice’ basis, which could offer you the chance to deal with things out of court.

Our fees for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal

  • Simple case: £8,000 – £12,000 (excluding VAT)
  • Medium complexity case: £12,000 – £20,000 (excluding VAT)
  • High complexity case: £20,000 – £35,000 (excluding VAT)

Factors that could make a case more complex:

  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • If it is necessary to make or defend other applications such as striking out a claim or response, interim relief, deposit orders, etc.
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
  • The number of witnesses and documents
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. ‘whistle-blowing’ or health and safety-related claims
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
  • Other claims brought within the same proceedings such as claims for holiday pay, arrears of pay, etc.

There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of between £600 and £1500 per day (excluding VAT). In many cases, it is unnecessary for us to attend as well as a barrister, but in more complex cases we may need to send a representative to assist the barrister with various aspects of the hearing. Generally, we would allow 2 – 10 days depending on the complexity of your case.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as barrister’s fees and Tribunal fees (which may be re-introduced in some form within the next 12 – 18 months). We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Barrister’s fees are estimated at between £800 to £5000 per day (depending on the experience of the advocate) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation). The barrister’s fees are normally payable in two parts – a ‘brief’ fee for preparation and dealing with the first day of the case, and then a ‘refresher’ fee for each subsequent day that the barrister needs to attend. The brief fee is generally between 1.5 and 3 times the refresher rate. The daily rates we have provided are an aggregate of brief and refresher fees taking into account our experience of both the fees normally charged and the average length of hearings.

Key stages

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:

  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (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
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  • 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
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
  • Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
  • Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to the barrister

The stages set out above are an indication of those stages which are usual in most cases. In certain circumstances, however, some of these stages may not be required or there may be additional stages because there is a need to deal with certain aspects of the claim discretely from the main hearing itself. This could lead to the fee being reduced or increased depending on what is actually required. You may wish to deal with certain aspects of the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. We are happy to discuss such arrangements directly with you.

How long will my matter take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 2 – 6 weeks from the date conciliation is entered into. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 6 – 18 months, depending upon which Tribunal region is dealing with it. This is just an estimate and we will, of course, be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

We should point out that, due to resource issues within the Tribunal system, there are often considerable delays in paperwork being processed, and hearings are often postponed with no more than 24 – 48 hours’ notice (and maybe postponed several times). This can have a substantial effect on both timescales to conclusion and the costs and disbursements incurred – the barrister’s brief fee becomes payable at the point the papers are received by them and it may not always be possible for them to deal with any rearranged hearing, thereby potentially incurring an additional fee for an alternative barrister.

Our Team

Our Employment team have many years’ experience in dealing with all aspects of employment disputes and tribunal claims. The following set out the names, qualification and experience of our team to help you identify who is acting for you.

Catharine Geddes – Catharine is a partner and qualified in 2003. She deals with all aspects of employment law.

Kevin Barnett – Kevin is a partner and qualified in 1997. He deals with all aspects of employment law.


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