Thank you for looking at our services for Employment Law. We regularly advise employers of all sizes across a wide range of industries on dealing with employment tribunal claims, early conciliation and other options for resolving employment disputes.
As an employer, you have a legal duty to provide a fair working environment that complies with all relevant legislation, while still needing to be able to manage your workforce effectively. If an employee has raised an issue or made a claim to an employment tribunal, it is essential to have the right expert advice to protect your business and reputation.
Our expert employment solicitors can guide you through each step of the process of dealing with an employment dispute, removing as much stress and uncertainty from the situation as possible. We can help you secure the best available outcome for your business as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible while minimising any negative impact on your commercial interests.
Our expert team has years of experience handling both straightforward and highly complex employment disputes at every level, from negotiation and early conciliation through to Employment Tribunal hearings and Employment Appeal Tribunals proceedings.
We appreciate that getting the right result is only one of the concerns when dealing with an employment dispute – protecting your reputation and making sure the matter is dealt with efficiently are often just as important. We therefore tailor our approach to your priorities, making sure we resolve your matter in way that works for you and your business.
Value for money and overall costs are important factors for any business, so we will provide you with a range of estimates and keep you updated on costs at all times. That way you can budget appropriately and be confident that we are handling your case cost-effectively.
Whether you wish to settle a claim or fight it at tribunal, we will provide an honest assessment of the situation and commercially-focused advice to make sure you are pursuing the best strategy for your business.
We are proud to hold the Lexcel Accreditation issued by the Law Society. This involves the firm undergoing a rigorous audit process which ensures we maintain the highest levels of client care.
In cases that proceed to a full hearing at a tribunal for unfair dismissal the costs involved are likely to be in the region of £9,000 - £11,000 + VAT.
It is not possible to put a definitive figure on the costs as each case depends on its individual circumstances. The above figure is for a hearing that lasts two to three days. Some cases last longer than this and will cost more. Some cases involve more papers than other cases. The above figure is for an average case that usually involves one lever arch file of paperwork. In cases where there is significantly more paperwork than one lever arch the costs will be higher. This is because the witness statements tend to be longer and more complicated. Some cases involve more witnesses than others. The above figure is for a case that involves one or two witnesses. In cases where there are more witnesses than that the costs will be higher because it will involve preparing more witness statements and more cross examination.
For cases where you wish to instruct a barrister rather than asking us to appear at the hearing for you the costs will be higher than the costs set out above because you will have to pay the barrister’s fees in addition to ours. Cases are usually more expensive for employers than employees because it is usually the Employer that is responsible for preparing the trial bundles and any other necessary paperwork for a final hearing.
The costs will include all work done to draft your initial defence, respond to a response from your employee, or former employee, advising you of the risks and strategies on your case, corresponding with your opponent and the tribunal, preparing witness statements, dealing with disclosure issues, requesting any relevant expert reports such as medical reports and preparing for and presenting your case to the tribunal.
We charge for our work on an hourly rate basis. The hourly rate is currently between £175 + VAT per hour and £210 + VAT per hour depending on the level and experience of solicitor you wish to instruct. The costs are higher for more senior and experienced solicitors.
In order to commence any tribunal proceedings employees are required to complete ACAS compulsory conciliation. We charge a fixed fee for responding to ACAS compulsory conciliation. That fixed fee is between £500 + VAT and £600 + VAT depending on the seniority and experience of the solicitor who deals with compulsory conciliation on your behalf.
The time to deal with your case depends on a number of factors. One is the availability of the tribunal and how quickly the case can be listed. A typical case is usually listed before a tribunal for a final hearing within 6-8 months. It can be longer or shorter than this depending on the availability of the tribunal and any witnesses. If the first day of the case is the day that the claim is issued at the tribunal then usually a response will be received within 28 days. The tribunal will usually send the response to us within seven days of receiving it. Often a Pre Hearing Review (PHR) is listed at the tribunal to take place within 5-6 weeks of the tribunal sending a response to us. Once the PHR has taken place disclosure of relevant documents takes place within 4-6 weeks. Witness statements are usually required 6-8 weeks after the disclosure has been dealt with and then a final hearing is listed as soon as possible thereafter.
All of the costs, as set out above, are exclusive of VAT.
As the law currently stands there are no tribunal fees to pay to defend an employment claim. Disbursements that do arise are disbursements for medical reports from, for example, an Occupational Health Adviser. The fee for an Occupational Health report can vary significantly depending on the adviser you wish to use. It is not a disbursement that we are able to control the cost of.
Exclusions and Factors Which May Make a Case More Complex
In the event that the issues become more complex, we will make sure you are informed of this at the earliest opportunity and a clear estimate of those extra costs will be provided.
Factors that may lead to an increase in cost include:
- 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 the claim relates to an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if an employee claims they were dismissed after blowing the whistle on your business
There are key milestones, which may vary according to individual circumstances. They may be as follows:
- Taking your initial instructions
- Reviewing the papers and advising you on the merits of the claim being brought against you and likely compensation an Employment Tribunal might award if the claim is successful (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
- Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached
- Preparing your response to the claim
- Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
- Preparing or considering a schedule of loss
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
- Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
- preparing bundle of documents
- Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
- Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel