Costs for Businesses
As of the 6th December 2018, we are required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority http://www.sra.org.uk/sra/news/press/transparency-rules-2018.page to publish our legal fees in relation to wrongful and unfair dismissal.
Fees will vary depending on whether you have to face additional claims in conjunction with wrongful and/or unfair dismissal claims as it will inevitably make your defence more complex, requiring additional preparatory time. Examples of other types of claims which could be brought at the same time are:
- Breach of contract;
- Holiday pay;
- Unlawful deduction of wages;
- Protective award;
- Redundancy pay.
Prior to commencing work on your behalf, we shall inform you of any additional costs and ensure you fully understand how your legal fees are calculated before proceeding.
How we work
Whilst most firms operate on an hourly rate, we prefer to offer our clients a fixed fee (wherever possible) to assist our clients in managing their legal costs.
Before you agree to pay our fees you MUST check any business insurance policies you have in place, as they may potentially cover the costs of defending employment tribunal claims:
- This could be part of your office insurance or Directors insurance – speak to your insurer or broker if you are not sure to see whether this covered;
- Sometimes ‘After the Event Insurance’ [“ATE”] can also assist you – you should speak to your broker about this as an option;
- Often if you have insurance it not only covers the costs but also any damages awarded against you/ settlement payments agreed;
- Your insurance only kicks in once you have written confirmation of indemnity so you will be responsible for all fees until this date.
- Some insurers will prefer you to use firms of solicitors selected from their panel. However, you have the right to choose your own representation and should not be pressured into instructing a solicitor simply because they are recommended by the insurance broker.
We can help by liaising with your insurer if you need us to, just provide us with the policy number and contact details.
Where possible we operate using fixed fees for each stage of the tribunal process.
All of the below costs may vary depending on the following:
- Volume/complexity of claims (claims listed above);
- Volume of documents;
- Number of witnesses;
- If the other party is a litigant in person (this often requires more time due to their lack of understanding of the process and the law and we are legally obligated to provide them with a little more guidance and leeway where appropriate);
- Dealing with costs applications;
- Dealing with applications to amend claims;
- Dealing with strike out or deposit order applications;
- Where the dismissal/treatment is potential discriminatory;
- Making applications for interim relief;
- Dealing with preliminary issues in more than one preliminary hearing;
- Where you have started the claim/ defence yourself and we have to correct any mistakes or redraft any part of the pleadings;
- Where the other party acts unreasonably we may have to take appropriate action.
As such the below fixed fees apply to straightforward cases of wrongful or unfair dismissal only. If there is any additional and/or unexpected work (see above), we will ensure we have notified you of this and will endeavour to agree a fixed fee with you.
Initial consultation: £350 – £700 plus VAT
This is essential to assess your position. We can do this over the telephone or in person or in writing. At this stage we will also need to review your documents, so it may take a few calls/ emails and meetings before we are able to provide you with an assessment of your prospects.
Once we have your documents, we can provide you with a fixed fee estimate prior to assessing the case.
In our initial letter of advice, we will provide bespoke fixed fees. The below is a guide to each stage of litigation and the likely cost of this.
ACAS Early Conciliation: £350 – £600 plus VAT
We will liaise with ACAS on your behalf. As soon as you receive correspondence from ACAS get in touch and we can take over for you to assess whether the case can settle without the need for further legal costs and advise you accordingly on any offer.
If the matter cannot be settled during this process a certificate will be issued to the Claimant and we then wait to see if they issue an ET1 (this is the claim form).
Counter Schedule: £350 – £500 plus VAT
This is helpful to understand the best-case and worst-case scenario for the business, so that you are able to make an informed decision when making/ accepting an offer to settle a claim.
ET3: £750 to £1,200 plus VAT
This is the start of the legal process and must be done in a prescribed manner. This is one of the most important documents in a case as it forms the basis of your defence.
Preliminary Hearing: £700 to £1,700 plus VAT
Preliminary hearings occur in most cases and can last between an hour to a day. Every preliminary hearing requires the parties to agree to a written agenda two days in advance.
They can also be to determine preliminary applications and issues in dispute, such as disability status, strike out applications or deposit orders.
When we know how long your hearing is listed for, and what issues are to be determined, we can provide a fixed fee before starting the preparatory work.
Disclosure: from £600 plus VAT
Both parties are required to disclose all documents in their control or possession which are relevant to the case, whether it helps your position or not.
The costs vary significantly depending on the volume of documents and the complexity of the case.
Once we have all of your documents, we can provide you with a fixed fee for this stage.
List of Issues: £500 plus VAT
This is a list of all of the issues in your case which are in dispute and are usually agreed prior to the final hearing. We suggest doing this before drafting the statements, so we can focus on the legal questions the tribunal have to address.
Witness statements: per statement between £600 – £3,000 plus VAT
Final hearing preparation: £250 – £600 plus VAT
It is not uncommon for there to be inter-party correspondence and last-minute items following exchange of witness statements.
This will be covered by one fixed fee estimate for the entire preparation of your case.
Advocacy (someone attending tribunal for you)
Preparation of your case and representation at the first day: £1,000 – 1500 plus VAT
For each subsequent day thereafter: £750 plus VAT
We usually conduct our own advocacy but when necessary we may instruct a barrister, at any stage. Prior to instruction, we will obtain a quote for you in respect of their disbursement fees.
You will be required to settle their fee directly with them upon completion of the work.
All fixed fees are payable in advance of work being conducted and where a matter settles part way through once the fee is incurred and the work has been started there will be no refunds.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as counsel’s fees. Counsel’s fees can be anywhere between £1,000-£3,000 (plus VAT) per day for attending the final hearing, dependant on seniority. This estimate does not include counsel’s fees for preparation which can also be in the region of £1,000-£3,000 (plus VAT) per day.
If you wish to instruct us on a hourly rate our hourly rates are as follows:
|Jodie Hill||Managing Director and Solicitor||£275 plus VAT|
|Imogen Hamblin||Associate Solicitor||£225 plus VAT|
|Alicia Collinson||Employment Solicitor||£175 plus VAT|
|Sonia Kullar||Paralegal||£120 plus VAT|
|Annabelle Oliver||Paralegal||£120 plus VAT|
|Uthman El- Dharrat||Paralegal||£120 plus VAT|
Please note all cases must be supervised and worked on by a qualified Solicitor.
How long does this all take?
ACAS Early conciliation can last up to 6 weeks, but ACAS may remain involved if the parties seek to negotiate settlement, and this is still possible at any time up to and including the final hearing.
Once the claim is issued it can take up to 2 months for the Claimant (the employee) to receive the response.
The next step is for Case Management Orders which come from the tribunal either directly or after a preliminary hearing. At that stage, you will have a better idea of how long your case will take up to the final hearing date, as each of the required steps (as set out above) are timetabled.
Usually a preliminary hearing is listed shortly after a claim is issued, but the tribunal system is dealing with a backlog of cases, and as a result we are experiencing significant delays across the UK. At worst, cases are being listed for final hearing up to 15 months. Usual waiting times are around 6-9 months depending upon the region in which the Respondent’s business operates and the length of the proposed hearing. Usually the shorter the hearing, the more availability the Tribunal will have to list it for an earlier date.
What to do next?