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, our anticipated costs involved are likely to be in the region of £9,000 - £13,000 + VAT, but costs will exceed this should your claim involve additional complex aspects of discrimination or whistle-blowing.
It is not possible to put a definitive figure on the costs as each case depends on its individual circumstances such as the complexity of the issues, the volume of documentation and witness evidence. Such issues will naturally impact the length of a final hearing too. Should you wish to instruct an independent barrister specialising in employment law to represent the company during the final hearing, this cost will be additional and will be subject to seniority of the barrister and the length of the final hearing itself.
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 £220 + VAT per hour and £240 + 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 exhaust the mandatory Early Conciliation with ACAS. 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 purpose of Early Conciliation is to attempt to resolve the matter without the need for the final hearing.
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.
Once you receive notice of the claim, you will be required to provide your response to the tribunal within 28 days. Therefore, it is important that you provide us with the notice of claim as soon as you receive this.
For complex claims, or those which involve aspects of discrimination or whistle-blowing (for example) a Preliminary Hearing is listed with the purpose of identifying the legal issues to be determined at the final hearing, to set case management orders and to list the final hearing. Case management orders will include a date for the Claimant to disclose their schedule of loss, a date to mutually disclose all relevant documentation each party intends to rely upon to assist the tribunal in reaching its decision, as well as a date whereby the parties must simultaneously disclose their witness statements.
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.
Disbursements also include barrister’s fees.
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 the mandatory Early Conciliation with ACAS where the possibility of settlement is explored
- 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