For employers - Costs

Defending an employer in unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal claims

The total charges (excluding disbursements) in acting on behalf of an employer in defending a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal will normally be in the region of £15,000 to £25,000 plus VAT at the current rate, being 20% (£18,000 to £30,000 inclusive of VAT).

A significant element of our charges will depend on the length of the final hearing before the Employment Tribunal and this can range from one day in the simplest of cases to five days, two weeks or more in complex cases.

Our charges include the following work

  • taking your full instructions;
  • advising you on the merits of the case;
  • preparing and filing the Grounds of Response;
  • preparing for and attending a case management hearing (or agreeing the case management timetable and briefing counsel for the hearing if appropriate and agreed with you);
  • preparing and agreeing a list of issues or a chronology of key events if required;
  • dealing with your disclosure obligations;
  • reviewing the claimant’s disclosure;
  • preparing witness evidence;
  • if use of counsel is discussed and agreed with you - instructing counsel for the hearing;
  • preparing the case for the final hearing which will include agreeing trial bundles and liaising with witnesses (and counsel, if using counsel is discussed and agreed with you); and
  • attending the hearing.

This list above also describes the key stages in defending a claim of unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal.

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages 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 arranged on your individual needs.

The indicative cost range does not include our charges for any work which may prove necessary during the claim, such as a hearing going part-heard.

Complex cases:

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
  • 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

Timeframes

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. It is also dictated by the Employment Tribunal which sets a timetable and will fix the hearing dates subject to its own resources. You should anticipate at least a 6 month to 12-month turnaround from the date a referral is made to ACAS to the date which the Employment Tribunal list the case for final hearing.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as barrister’s fees or couriers’ fees.

Sometimes if it is discussed and agreed with you, it is appropriate to retain counsel to advise on the merits of a defence and or to represent you at hearing(s). The level of the brief fees for counsel will depend upon their seniority and the duration of the hearing. Counsel’s fees would be a disbursement and would be in the region of £5,000 to £7,000 plus VAT (£6,000 to £8,400 inclusive of VAT for a one-day hearing). The brief fee covers the preparation for the hearing and the first day. Counsel will charge a refresher fee for each additional day and refresher fees normally range from £1,500 to £3,000 plus VAT (£1,800 to £3,600 inclusive of VAT).

The basis of charging

Generally, our fees are calculated on an hourly basis, although on the recommendation of the Law Society, we may take into account a number of other factors including;

  • Complexity and difficulty of the matter
  • Specialist knowledge and responsibility involved
  • Urgency
  • Volume of papers
  • Number of witnesses
  • Number of hearing days

The hourly rates are currently £275 for Director and Senior Solicitor who has over sixteen years of post-qualification experience, the majority of which is in Employment Tribunal litigation.

Other assistants (Not solicitors) £30 + VAT

All time spent on your matter is recorded. This could include meetings, telephone discussions, correspondence, sending and receiving emails, reading, preparing and revising documents, general consideration and research, travelling and the supervision, and the administration, care and control of your file. We operate a system under which each hour is divided into units of six minutes and each activity is usually recorded separately, with a minimum of one unit per activity.

Other possible expenses

Other possible expenses are; photocopying charges (typically £0.10 per sheet); postage; round trip train travel (standard class) to the Employment Tribunal hearing centre; taxi fares; hotel accommodation for overnight stay (for hearings outside of the greater London and Kent area, and/or as agreed with you) and daily subsistence (at a maximum of £20 to £25 per day).

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