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At Quantrills we specialise in defending employers against all types of claims from the basic claim of unfair dismissal through to cases involving multiple claims of wrongful dismissal, discrimination, victimisation or harassment.
Our hourly rates
Our full solicitor hourly rates for employment tribunal defence work range between £205.00 + VAT and £245+VAT depending on which solicitor is appointed, the complexity and the potential value of the claimant’s claim.
Discounted hourly rates are available to employer clients who are subscribers to our Quantrills HR and hrlegal services. Full details are available upon request.
Our para-legal hourly rate is £75.00 + VAT.
For most hearings we use specialist employment law barristers (counsel) to represent you. The fees for counsel are based on a brief fee which covers all case preparation and the first day of the hearing and then a fee for the second and each subsequent day (this is called a ‘refresher’). Brief fees tend to range from £1,750.00 +VAT to £8,500 + VAT and refresher fees from £750.00 + VAT to £2,500 + VAT. The actual fees for counsel tend to be based on his or her experience and the type of case.
The costs of defending an employment tribunal claim
Our fees are based on how much time we will have to spend dealing with your defence. The reality is that only a relatively small number of cases actually end up going to a full merits hearing. Most cases will settle at some stage in the tribunal litigation process and this means if a case is settled there is usually a large saving in legal costs, especially if achieved early in the claim. This is why most of our clients will ask us to explore the possibility of reaching a negotiated settlement from the outset and as the case is progressed. However, there are often good legal and commercial reasons why a client will instruct us they do not want to settle but want to ensure everything is done to defend successfully the claim against them.
Throughout every case we will always keep you updated about the legal fees incurred and our estimate for future fees to be incurred.
In our experience each tribunal case is different with its unique facts and issues. This makes it impossible to know from the outset what your final legal costs will be. As a guide to show you the wide range of legal fees that may be incurred, we have set out below three typical examples of what we have recently charged our employer clients:
Example Employment Tribunal Employer Legal Fees
Early settlement of unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claim
We charged £3,450.00 + VAT with no counsel fees.
We acted for a London based manufacturer and seller of fashionable smart phone accessories. They had to defend a claim of unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and wrongful deductions of wages. There was an issue about the employment tribunal’s ability to hear this case because the employment status of the claimant was disputed. In addition the merits of the claims were contested. We advised on merits and drafted the employer’s defence on form ET3.
We adopted a robust and no-nonsense approach with the claimant to make it clear that this was a case that would be hotly contested at tribunal if necessary. However, our client recognised the benefits of seeking a negotiated settlement and we achieved this before there was any hearing in person. The case was settled on favourable terms via Acas on a COT 3 agreement.
A case of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination
We charged £5,929.00 + VAT with counsel fees of £3,600.00 + VAT.
We acted for the employer who is a manufacturer of industrial cleaning equipment. Our client disputed the merits of the claimant’s claims including whether he was a disabled person and also argued the claims had in any event been brought out of time. We therefore applied to the employment tribunal for a one day preliminary hearing to decide these issues. The outcome was that the tribunal agreed that all claims had been brought out of time and therefore they were dismissed.
A complex case of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination
We charged £31,445.00 + VAT with counsel fees of £14,885.00 + VAT.
This was a complex case involving two preliminary hearings and a 5 day full merits hearing at the Central London Employment Tribunal where we also attended with counsel.
We acted for a public sector client who rightly so did not wish to settle this case because it had followed an appropriate ill-health dismissal procedure. We therefore completed full and detailed case preparation including two case management hearings. The claimant’s solicitor proved a challenge to deal with and multiple disputes arose so that we had to deal with various issues including missing documentation and the contents of the hearing bundle.
Our client successfully defended the claims with the tribunal deciding the dismissal was fair and there was no disability discrimination
What makes a tribunal case complex?
Whilst every case is different, some turn out to be more complex and time consuming to deal with than others. This results in an increase in the legal costs. The factors that may make an employment tribunal case a complex one include:
- Any type of discrimination claim or claims of automatic unfair dismissal, for example whistleblowing or pregnancy or maternity related dismissals.
- Arguments about the claimant’s legal ability or right to bring the claim
- A case which involves a large number of documents, especially emails
- Disputes about disclosure of specific documents
- The need to apply to the tribunal for specific case management orders
- Complicated schedules of loss involving disputes about mitigation of loss or pension loss
- Having three or more witnesses
Employment Tribunal time frames
If the claim is settled at or shortly after the Acas early-conciliation stage, your case is likely to be concluded within 4 to 6 weeks. If the case proceeds to a full merits hearing then it may take between 6 and 12 months to be concluded.
Cases involving hearings of more than 2 days or more tend to be listed by the employment tribunal for hearing in six or more months. There are just estimates and we will keep up dated as your case proceeds about the actual time frame that will apply. This will be influenced by which tribunal is dealing with your case; many tribunals have a lack of administrative and judicial resources which is causing the long delays in hearings being listed within a reasonable period of time.
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