Unfair/Wrongful Dismissal – Fees Transparency
Under the Transparency Rules and the Price and Service Transparency guidance issued by the Law Society, the SRA requires us to provide costs information in relation to claims for wrongful dismissal (breach of contract) and unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal.
At the outset of your case, we will discuss the range of funding options available to you in pursuing your employment claim. Each case is different and as such it is difficult to predict exactly how much a case will cost from start to finish because that would depend on the complexity of the case.
The complexity of a case will be determined by a number of factors, including the value, the factual circumstances and the evidence. For example, an unfair dismissal claim in a redundancy situation is usually a straightforward case. By comparison, an unfair dismissal claim in a redundancy case where the true reason for dismissal is whistleblowing is likely to be complex. Our guidance, therefore, covers a range of cases in bringing a claim for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal.
Please note, this is not intended to be an estimate or a quote. Each case will be discussed individually and an indication of costs based on the individual circumstances will be given at the time and will be revised as the case progresses and may increase if there are unforeseen complexities
No Win No Fee
As stated on our main fees page we can offer no win no fee arrangements or damages-based agreement (“DBA”). To assess if we can offer a DBA, we consider the merits and commercial viability of the case. We rarely offer a DBA to represent throughout the litigation process. However, if there is a DBA in place, we may offer to undertake the work involved in Tribunal litigation on a reduced hourly rate.
Even under a DBA, you would be responsible for the cost of any ‘disbursements’ which you would have to pay as and when they are incurred (see below). If successful in recovering compensation on your behalf, our fee would be payable at the conclusion of your case, once you have received payment from your employer.
It is important to note that many cases settle prior to a hearing and the pre-litigation costs for negotiating a settlement generally range from around £250-£5,000 plus VAT (depending on how matters progress and the amounts in issue), but can exceed this where we achieve a high settlement value. For example if we achieve £50,000 for you, at 20%, then our fee would be £10,000.
Approximate cost of pursuing a claim for a unfair or wrongful dismissal
Low complexity claim: : £1,500-£5,000 (plus VAT) – this would include significant work from you performed under our guidance
Medium complexity case: £5,000 -£15,000 (plus VAT) – this would include significant work from you performed under our guidance
High complexity case: up to or over £40,000 (plus VAT)
Factors that could make a case more complex include:
- Amending claims and/ or providing further information in an existing claim;
- Adding a new claim, joining new parties to the proceedings;
- Factual dispute about the sums owed;
- Making or defending applications during proceedings;
- Complex preliminary issues – for example, the employment status of the individual bringing proceedings or questions of jurisdiction;
- Making or defending a costs application;
- The evidence available;
- The numbers of witnesses;
- The evidence available and the number of documents; and
- Problems linked to disclosure of documents, admissibility and requests for specific disclosure.
Our usual hourly rate is £250 to £350 plus VAT. Our rates may be increased each year. If we are instructed to attend a Tribunal Hearing then there will be additional charges for our attendance at the Tribunal that would be calculated with reference to our hourly rate.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees, barrister’s or expert’s fees and courier charges. We handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process but will need to be placed in funds in advance.
Barrister’s fees vary considerably. For a simple unfair dismissal claim, you should expect to pay at least £550 (plus VAT) per day (depending on the level of experience of the barrister) for providing representation at a Tribunal Hearing.
As a general rule, the more complex the case the more senior the barrister and the higher the fees. For hearings of more than one day, barrister will charge a brief fee and an additional ‘refresher’ fee for each day that they have to attend the hearing. They usually charge travel costs on top.
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 the merits of the case and likely compensation;
- Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
- Preparing the claim form and Grounds of Claim, setting out your case and the nature of the dispute or preparing the response form if a claim has been made against you;
- Reviewing and advising the response from the other party;
- Considering the value of the case and merits throughout the process;
- Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process;
- Calculating financial loss;
- Preparing or considering a Schedule of Loss;
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing (including instructing counsel where necessary);
- Corresponding with opponent and Tribunal;
- Exchanging a List of Documents and copies with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents;
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses;
- Preparing the bundle of documents for the Final Hearing;
- Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements;
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/ or cast list; and
- Preparation and attendance at the Final Hearing, including preparing instructions to the barrister
These stages vary from case to case and not all stages are required in every case. We can discuss ways to reduce fees by doing some work yourself with assistance and guidance from us.
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/ negotiation, your case can take as little as a matter of days or weeks.
If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 6-9 months (this depends on when the Employment Tribunal arranges for the Final Hearing will take place) but since covid it can take longer to get a hearing date due to court backlogs. It is not unusual, in complex cases, for hearings to be listed 18 months after the dismissal takes place.
This is just an estimate. During the process, we would provide you with a more accurate timescale when more information is available and as matters progress. If unforeseen complexities arise, then we will inform you and provide a revised estimate.