We offer a number of flexible funding options from acting for you under a fixed fee, where possible, to stage-by-stage quotes and forward thinking costs planning. We believe our costs should be transparent from the outset and should never be a surprise.
We don’t do No Win No Fee cases but we will work with you to still help, even if you have a limited budget.
We offer retainer arrangements for businesses to enable them to manage their legal costs but still giving the added security that we are there as and when you need us.
We can act under your legal expenses insurance, if you have it and are able to assist you in putting legal expenses insurance in place, if this is something you would like to explore.
As you can see, costs flexibility matters to us, as we know it is important to you.
Our rates are extremely competitive and are substantially less than those of our peers in larger regional practices, but with a comparable level of expertise and experience!
We are required by our governing body, the Solicitors Regulatory Authority to give you cost information on Employment Tribunals and wrongful dismissal claims. Cases can be so varied and range from a simple 3 hour hearing on a wrongful dismissal matter to 10 plus day Employment Tribunals.
The factors that could make a case more complex and increase costs:
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
- 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. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
- Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
As a rough rule of thumb, for a main Hearing the Tribunal like to hear 2 – 3 witnesses per day, so the number of witnesses very much guides how long a case will be listed for for the main Hearing.
Additional costs – Experts reports, Counsel etc
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as medical experts (where relevant) or to Counsel (barristers). You will pay these fees direct to the expert or barrister.
Counsel’s fees estimated between £1500 to £10,000 per day (usually plus VAT) (depending on experience of the barrister) for attending a Tribunal Hearing. We may sometimes need to seek Counsel’s opinion which again depends on the complexity and work involved and could be anything from £1000 to £5000 (usually plus VAT).
Occasionally the Employment Tribunal may ask for a payment into Court to allow you to continue your case (Deposit Order). This is unusual and is usually up to £1000 for each issue the Tribunal think has limited chances of success. So you can see getting proper legal advice in such matters is important.
There tend to be key stages in Employment Tribunal cases as follows:
- Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revised throughout the matter and subject to change)
- Entering into pre-claim conciliation (which is mandatory) to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
- Preparing the claim or response
- Reviewing and advising on the claim or response from the other party
- Exploring settlement and negotiating for settlement throughout the process
- Preparing or considering a schedule of loss
- Preparing for (and attending) a Case Management Hearing (where the steps below and the issues in the case are agreed) and /or a Preliminary Hearing
- Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents
- Drafting statements and agreeing their content with the witnesses
- Preparing and agreeing the bundle of documents
- Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list as ordered by the Tribunal
- Preparation and attendance at the Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel
The stages set out above are an indication and if some of stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be agreed based on your individual needs.
You can therefore see that the costs of a Tribunal can vary dramatically from a simple straight forward one day case that is heard within 6 months to a 6 day Tribunal with multiple preliminary hearings taking 2 ½ years.
It is therefore so difficult to give an accurate cost estimate of likely fees to go through a Tribunal.
As very rough guidance a simple 1 day Hearing may cost £2,000 to £5,000 plus VAT plus Counsel’s fees.
A mid range case with perhaps a case management Hearing then a day or 3 day Tribunal could be in the region of £5,000 to £15,000 plus VAT plus Counsel’s fees and any expert reports.
A very complex case like a 6 day discrimination Hearing with multiple experts reports, senior Counsel, taking 2 years could be up to £50,000 plus VAT plus Counsel’s fees and expert reports or more.
Every case is so different.
The good news is that the majority of cases are settled before they get to a main Hearing which can dramatically reduce costs.
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 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, with the Tribunal currently being inundated with cases, it could take anything from 6 months to 2 years to get to a final Hearing. 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.
Costs are not very often recovered in a Tribunal from the other side but if this is an option, we will discuss this with you. It is also unusual to have costs awarded against you but again we will discuss this with you if it is ever a possibility.