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How much can legal fees cost for an Employment Tribunal claim?
This is an important question for all clients and is why we will always give you our best estimate of your legal fees from the outset and as your case progresses.
Our approach is to minimise the cost of your total legal fees. These will, however, depend on how complex your case is, how long it takes to deal with the case preparation and if any hearings are necessary. Your legal fees will be less if your case is settled and this is why we focus on securing the best possible terms of settlement at the earliest opportunity.
How does Quantrills approach Employment Tribunal litigation?
Our approach is systematic and robust. Our goal is to present your claim in the best and legally persuasive way to encourage the respondent (your ex-employer) to settle as quickly as possible with you. Or if settlement is not possible, our approach ensures maximum success at the employment tribunal.
We take planned steps, as agreed with you. These are designed to progress your case in the most appropriate and cost effective way with the goal of concluding your case without the need for your case to proceed to a full hearing. This approach has proved to be the best way of minimising legal costs for our clients whilst achieving the best possible outcomes. That said if your case proceeds to a full-hearing we will fight hard and well on your behalf. Like for you, our reputation is at stake as well!
What's involved in bringing an Employment Tribunal claim?
Drafting Your Claim Form
First, we need to understand the facts and issues about your case. Invariably we do this by a combination of emails, phone discussions and if convenient meetings. You can use our online forms to help you give us all the information we will need. We will work out the potential value of your claims and advise you about the legal merits of your case, your options and suggest the best tactics to use.
Often we will prepare a timeline of key events and documents.
Your claim has to be submitted online on a Claim Form called an ET1. Drafting the details and legal basis of your claim is a key step to get right because a well drafted ET1 helps to highlight the strengths of your case and can persuade the employer to settle more quickly.
Your employer’s defence is set out in a Response Form (ET3) and we will advise you about the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments put forward in it.
Assuming the merits remain good, we will then agree with you a Case Plan that will form the basis of how we will litigate your case and deal with the full case preparation.
With any tribunal case there are many tasks to complete: Both parties will have to list and disclosure to the other their case documents; a hearing bundle will have to be prepared, witness statements drafted, a detailed schedule of loss must be calculated to justify the value of your claim; there may be at least one preliminary hearing to attend by phone or in person – for ‘case management’ orders to be made by the judge. A list of factual and legal issues will be required.
Throughout the case preparation, there will often be on-going without prejudice negotiations. Often there are disputes about some of the documents or one party may request the other to provide more details about their case. Various applications may have to be made to the tribunal for directions or orders to resolve any important disputes.
There will be many phone calls, emails and letters between the parties, their solicitors, witnesses, counsel and the tribunal case officers.
If there’s no settlement, your case will proceed to a full-hearing. A straight-forward claim of unfair dismissal is likely to be listed for a one or two day hearing. Complex cases will be listed for three or more days, often for five to ten days. The number of hearing days will depend on the number of witnesses and how long the lawyers will need to cross-examine witnesses and to make their legal submissions.
For the hearing, an updated list of issues will be required along with an updated schedule of loss, a cast list may be required, the trial bundles must be in perfect order and we will brief a specialist employment law barrister to represent you. Sometimes we will attend the full hearing with counsel, especially if your case is complex and there are lots of witnesses.
After the hearing and judgment has been given, we will need to deal with remedy.
What are your hourly rates?
For employment tribunal cases, our full solicitor hourly rates range between £195.00 +VAT (£234.00) and £245.00 + VAT (£294.00) depending on which solicitor is appointed, the complexity and estimated value of your claim.
Our para-legal hourly rate is £75.00 + VAT (£90.00).
The fees for specialist employment law barristers (counsel) range from £750.00 + VAT to £2,000 + VAT or more per day depending on experience and how complex the case is. We will always obtain your prior authority before incurring any counsel fees.
What are the likely fees for an Employment Tribunal claim?
At Quantrills our many years of dealing with employment tribunal cases shows no two cases are the same. Most of our cases are complex, high value ones that involve multiple claims including unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and at least one form of discrimination. This means if your case is a complex one then the legal costs involved will tend to be quite high. In all cases we always keep an eye on the value of a claim compared to the estimated legal costs. We ensure no client will incur legal fees without knowing what the likely financial outcome will be.
To illustrate the wide range of legal fees that can be involved with employment tribunal cases, we have provided some typical examples of what we have charged employee clients:
Example Employee Legal Fees
Early negotiated settlement of sexual orientation claim
We charged £2,795.00 +VAT (£3,354.00). There was no counsel fees or other disbursements (expenses).
We acted for Peter who is gay. He had been overlooked for a key promotion and he felt this was because his manager was consciously or unconsciously bias against him. We helped Peter write and submit a detailed grievance. The employer’s investigation and grievance outcome fell far short of what was expected and Peter decided to start a discrimination claim. We handled the Acas Early Conciliation process and this led to a successful settlement based on a year’s gross salary plus repayment of most of Peter’s legal fees.
The early settlement was made easier by Peter having a well drafted grievance and timeline backed up with good supporting evidence which the employer struggled to counter. The terms of settlement were incorporated into an Acas COT3 agreement.
A complex case of constructive unfair and wrongful dismissal
We charged £25,702.00 plus VAT (£30,842.40) plus counsel’s fees of £4,500 + VAT (£5,400.00) (based on 3 days’ hearing).
Our client, Sally, was a social worker with over 20 years’ experience who resigned during a disciplinary procedure which the employer was conducting in a biased and unreasonable manner. Sally wanted to protect her professional reputation and secure financial compensation. The employer refused to consider settlement and from an early stage it was clear that this case was going to a full hearing. We therefore undertook full case preparation, including preparing four witness statements. Sally was represented by a barrister at a three day employment tribunal which held she had been unfairly and wrongfully dismissed. Sally secured maximum compensation for her constructive unfair dismissal and damages for her 3 months’ contractual notice. We also made a cost application and one day before the remedy hearing the case was settled and the settlement terms included the employer paying Sally over £14,000 +VAT towards her legal costs. This cost contribution was based on the employer trying to rely on false evidence. The balance of Sally’s fees were then mostly paid by her legal expenses insurers.
A complex case of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination
We charged £19,151.50+VAT (£22,981.80). There was no counsel fees.
William was dismissed from a large high street medical practice for professional malpractice. He brought claims of unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and disability discrimination. The employer was at first slow to explore terms of settlement and we had to draft the claim form and deal with extensive case preparation. We had to organise specialist medical reports and supporting evidence. Disability was disputed and the employer’s solicitors were uncooperative and difficult. However, as we developed the case, the employer changed tactics and the parties agreed to attend mediation which ultimately led to agreed terms of settlement being reached, covering all employment law claims and selling the client’s shares at an agreed valuation. The above fee also includes all advice and negotiations about the settlement agreement the parties entered into.
What factors make a case more complex and time consuming?
Each case is different. Some cases are more involved or complex than others. Your legal costs will be higher if it proves necessary for us to complete more case preparation. Factors that may make your case more complex and in turn increase your legal fees include:
- A case involving any type of discrimination.
- Arguments about time limits.
- A case that involves a large volume of case documentation, or if there is a dispute about the disclosure of documents or information.
- Preparing complicated schedules of loss, especially for pension loss claims.
- Dealing with complex preliminary issues such as whether you are a disabled person or if there is a dispute about your employment status or date of dismissal.
- Having two or more witnesses.
- If your claim is an automatic unfair dismissal one, for example, if you are a whistleblower or involves a health and safety complaint.
How long can my tribunal case take?
If your case proceeds to a full tribunal hearing your case may take between six and 12 months to be heard, especially if it has to be listed for more than one or two days. The availability of hearing dates is a real problem as parties often having to wait months for their case to be heard. This is due largely to a poorly funded and resourced employment tribunal service which does not currently have the administrative and judicial resources to deal efficiently with the number of tribunal claims.
In practice, the time it takes from starting your claim to its final outcome depends largely if and at what stage your case settles. In our experience, it is common for most cases to settle within the first three to six months of a claim being started.
As your case is progressed, we will keep you informed of the likely timescale based on how your ex-employer responds to your claim and once we have more information about what is in dispute.
Becoming our client is a straightforward process. However, before choosing Quantrills as your employment law solicitors you and us will want to be completely sure we are the right people to help you achieve your objectives. Having looked at our web site, if you like our approach and would like to discuss how we can help you, getting started is easy.
At Quantrills we are flexible in how we work with you and how we progress your case...
We welcome calls from our clients. Call us any time between 08.30AM to 5.30PM Monday to Friday to discuss your case. We will do our best to speak with you when you call, or if we can’t, you will get a call back as soon as possible.
01473 688 100Or request a call back
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Search our Employee Knowledge Bank for the information you want
To learn more about a specific employment law right or HR topic it’s easy to search our knowledge bank of employee focused briefing notes, checklists and case reports.