Employment Law – Fee Structure for Employees
Unfair or wrongful dismissal cases costs
The range of costs for a claim of unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal will vary depending on the complexity of the matter and on the extent to which the employer defends the proceedings.
If your matter goes all the way to the final hearing, you should expect that your fees will range between:
|Simple Cases||£5,000 to £8,500 (plus VAT)|
Simple cases are where the issues to be determined are not complex, where there are a limited number of witnesses and cases which are not document and evidence heavy. For example, it may include claims for breach of contract, unlawful deduction of wages cases, holiday pay disputes, wrongful dismissal claims or claims in relation to statutory rights. It may also include some straightforward unfair dismissal claims (for example claims that are well evidenced so issues to be determined by the tribunal would not be vast). These cases would normally be listed for one or two days.
|Medium complexity cases||£8,500 to £20,000 (plus VAT)|
Medium complexity cases are where the issues to be determined require more detailed assessment. This would include more complicated unfair dismissal claims, automatic unfair dismissal cases, cases of holiday pay where employment status needs to be determined and discrimination/whistleblowing detriment cases. Medium complexity cases would normally be listed for 3 – 5 days, there would be some witnesses and a more substantial number of documents and evidence to prepare and to consider.
|Higher complexity cases||£15,000 to £30,000 (plus VAT)|
Higher complexity cases include cases that include unfair dismissal claims linked to discrimination, whistleblowing detriment and cases requiring a lot of witnesses and review of a large bundle of documents. These cases would normally be listed for more than 5 days.
|Disbursements||Whilst most cases settle before proceeding to the final hearing, it is important that you are aware of additional costs that may be incurred if it does not. In addition to our costs, you may also need to pay disbursements. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties for example to a barrister and/or expert. You no longer need to pay a fee to issue an Employment Tribunal claim. Barristers’ fees are the most likely disbursements for this type of matter. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. We do not mark up the fees. The amount of the barrister’s fees will also depend on the complexity of the case and the seniority of the barrister and what they are instructed to do.|
Although any preliminary matters would mostly be dealt with by a solicitor, we may need to instruct a barrister if there any time limit or employment status issues or if you wish to make an application to amend your claim. We may also need to instruct a barrister to defend any strike out/deposit order applications made by the employer or if there is a dispute about your disability status (if applicable). Those preliminary matters would normally cost between £1,000 – £3,500 (plus VAT) to determine. If your matter goes all the way to the full hearing, you will normally expect to pay between £2,500 – £7,500 plus VAT as brief fee. Brief fee is for the preparation for the hearing and the first day of the hearing. You would also need to pay a refresher fee (attendance for each additional day at the hearing). These costs are usually between £750 – £3,000 plus VAT per day (depending on the experience and seniority of the barrister). For example, if your matter is listed for 3 days you would be charged a brief fee, plus 2 day refresher fee. We would give you an estimate of this before instructing them on your behalf.
What do the fees include?
- Taking your initial instructions, reviewing papers and advising you on the merits of the case (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
- Engaging ACAS and obtaining conciliation certificate
- Preparing the claim and issuing it at the Employment Tribunal
- Reviewing and advising you on the response from the other party (does not include defending any counterclaim issued by the employer)
- Exploring settlement negotiations throughout the process either via ACAS or directly with your employer
- Considering whether your employer should be put on the warning of costs and responding to any warning of costs received from the employer
- Preparation for defending any strike out order/deposit order applications
- Preparing your schedule of loss and considering the employers counter schedule
- Writing your disability statement if applicable
- Preparing for and attending any closed preliminary hearing (such as case management hearing)
- Preparing for any open preliminary hearing
- Exchanging documents with the party in agreeing the bundle of documents
- Taking witness statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
- Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
- Agreeing a list of issues, chronology and/or cast list
- Preparing for the final hearing including any instructions to the barrister
- Reviewing tribunal decision and advising on liability and any consequences example preparation for remedies hearing, advising on enforcement action where necessary (but not the enforcement action itself) and advising whether there is scope for an appeal, where appropriate
- Preparing for any costs applications
The stages set out above are an indication only and some of the stages may not be required.
NB – the costs above do not include attendance or representation at an open preliminary hearing, drafting of the list of issues or making or defending an appeal. It also does not include any costs associated with any enforcement action we have to take if your employer does not pay as ordered.
It is difficult to give you a reliable estimate of the costs early in the proceedings. This is because there are a number of factors that may impact your overall costs that depend on the actions of the opposing party. However, if there are unexpected complications we inform you of this and will discuss the potential consequences and the likely impact on the fees before they are incurred. Factors that could make your claim more complex and/or add cost include:
- Making any applications to amend your claim
- Pursuing a claim against a non legally represented employer which is not acting reasonably
- The extent to which the employer defends proceedings
- The number of issues or events that the Employment Tribunal need to consider in order to reach a decision
- Preliminary issues that may need to be decided, for example whether the claim has been brought within time limits or where employment status must be determined
- Dealing with a high volume of documents and/or a number of witnesses
- Instructing an expert
- Making or defending an application for strike out or deposit order
- Making or defending any applications for an order for disclosure and/or witness appearance at the Employment Tribunal
- The number of days that are allocated for the final hearing
- Making or defending an application for costs
If you opt for this type of fee arrangement, you will be charged for our services at an hourly rate. Hourly rate will vary depending on the experience of a solicitor. They may range between £200 – £400 (plus VAT) per hour. If the solicitor is assisted by a trainee and or a paralegal, their hourly rate will range between £150 – £200 plus VAT per hour.
Our hourly rate charges are based on actual time spent working on your file. Time spent on your file will include meetings with you and others, reading, considering, preparing and working on papers, negotiation, correspondence, attending court, instructing barristers, preparation of detailed cost calculations, making and receiving telephone calls and travelling when necessary.
Routine letters/emails received, or routine letters/emails sent and making or receiving routine telephone calls are charged in units of 6 minutes. Longer letters and telephone calls will be charged according to the time taken. VAT will be added to the hourly rate at the rate that applies at the time work carried out. VAT is currently 20%.
If your matter is suitable for a no win no fee agreement, you may be able to fund it under a Damages Based Agreement (DBA). DBA is a type of a no win no fee agreement. Under the DBA you would need to pay a flat fee (usually between 20 – 35% inclusive of VAT of whatever you get from your employer.
If we are unable to obtain settlement or if you do not win your case, you will not be liable for the payment as this is the whole purpose of a DBA. However, you will still be liable for any expenses (disbursements) spent on your behalf, eg expert fees plus the fees of any barrister we instruct.
For claimants (employees) in some cases, we offer a no win no fee agreement. This would include a pre-determined fee arrangement upon successful completion of your matter.
To assess whether the claim has sufficient merit for us to offer such an agreement we offer a free assessment consultation. We would then be in a position to make an offer of a no win no fee agreement if we believe that the merits are strong enough and that the potential damages that could be recovered will be sufficient to cover our costs. We will discuss different options with you during this meeting.
This will be dependent upon whether a settlement can be negotiated at any time throughout the case. If the claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, at the moment, there will be delay of several months before a hearing is scheduled and as stated above unfair/wrongful dismissal claims are normally dealt with in 1 or 2 days.
You may have insurance cover for costs in the Employment Tribunal and you should check any policies that you have. In addition, if you are an employee then you may receive free legal advice from your Trade Union if you are a member.
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