Pricing and other information for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims in the employment tribunal

The work is usually undertaken by solicitors; that's Roberta and sometimes Kevin who both have over 30 years' post-qualification experience

First of all, you should check your insurance policy or policies to see whether you have insurance cover and contact your insurer to confirm if you are covered for bringing or defending a claim.

We do not work on a conditional fee or damages based agreement, (“no win no fee”).

We do not usually offer a free initial interview or consultation.

You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages or issues. This can also be arranged to meet your individual needs at the hourly rate of £300 plus VAT at 20 per cent: that’s £360 an hour including VAT.

A wrongful dismissal is a breach of contract and the employment tribunal can only hear claims up to £25,000. Claims above this will usually be heard by the County Court or High Court depending on the amount and such claims are outside of this information. Our pricing for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal employment tribunal claims and an indication of the costs, timescale and key stages are below.

Our charges

Our pricing for bringing or defending claims for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal in the employment tribunal are based on an hourly rate of £300 plus VAT.

The rate of VAT is 20 per cent.

(The hourly rate is £360 inclusive of VAT).

Our charges depend on how complex the case is and the number of hours required.

We have provided a range of likely costs below. These amounts exclude VAT. The costs could be higher or lower, depending on the complexity or the time spent.

You should be aware that the employment tribunal does not usually award costs, so you are unlikely to recover any costs from the other party along the way or if you are successful.

Please note that we are not pensions or tax experts and our costs do not include any advice you may require in these areas.

Indication of range of potential costs excluding VAT

Category                                                    Range £                          

Simple case

6,000 – 10,000

Medium Complexity

10,000 – 20,000

High Complexity

20,000 - 45,000

The range of costs is provided as an indication of cost based on our experience of previous cases.

There are a number of factors that affect the complexity of a claim and can even take it outside the range of costs above. These include:

  • difficult preliminary issues such as whether or not the claimant is an employee, whether the employment tribunal is able to hear the claim (has jurisdiction) or, unless it is agreed, whether the claimant is disabled if a disability claim is included
  • making or defending an interim application, for example, to amend claims or defences or to provide further information about a claim
  • cases which are either brought by or defended by litigants in person
  • the strategy and/or the level of co-operation of the other party’s representatives
  • undue correspondence with the other party or the employment tribunal
  • making or defending a costs application
  • any adjournment
  • the number of documents
  • the number of witnesses
  • whether expert evidence is needed
  • an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g., if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
  • other legal claims are included such as allegations of discrimination, harassment or victimisation which are linked to the dismissal.

Every case is different and one size does not fit all. Medium or highly complex claims generally include claims of wrongful dismissal and/or other claims. Examples of high complexity claims are those which include allegations of discrimination or whistleblowing.

We would generally expect a simple case to take 1 to 2 days, a medium complexity case to take around 2 to 4 days and a high complexity case 5 days or more. Generally, we would allow 1 to 5 days depending on the number of issues and complexity of your case.

We do not usually conduct employment tribunal hearings ourselves and instruct a barrister (Counsel) to represent you. There will be an additional charge for Counsel attending a tribunal hearing – see “Expenses or disbursements” below.

If we do attend a tribunal hearing, our daily rate for attending will be at the rate mentioned above and will include any time travelling. Again, there may well be additional costs, for example travel – see “Expenses or disbursements” below.

If we attend a hearing with Counsel, the cost will be the lower of the actual time spent at the hourly rate mentioned above, including travel time and £1,500 plus VAT per day. Again, there may well be additional costs – see “Expenses or disbursements” below.

Expenses or disbursements

Disbursements are expenses related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as courier charges, photocopying travel or accommodation costs.

These are set out separately on the invoice and are usually subject to VAT.

The rate of VAT is presently 20 per cent (which will be added).

We reserve the right to charge for internal copying at the rate of 25p per sheet plus VAT for A4 and 30p per sheet plus VAT for A3 copies. We usually outsource bulk photocopying (generally 100 pages or over) and the charges are presently 12p plus VAT for black and white copies and 35p plus VAT per sheet for colour.

Courier charges vary depending on the destination and urgency – these could be between £40 plus VAT and £100 plus VAT.

Travel costs outside London also depend on the destination, and if travelling by train, the time of travel. These will be subject to VAT and charged at the cost of the ticket.

If it is not possible or feasible to travel and return on the same day there will be a charge for accommodation. This this will depend on the destination or location and availability and accommodation would generally be between £100 and £150 plus VAT per night.

Counsel’s fees depend on experience and complexity of the case and sometimes the location of Counsel. A range of estimates for three levels of experience is below. Counsel’s fees and are usually subject to VAT.

The figures below are exclusive of VAT.

Length of Hearing (1) £ (2) £ (3) £
½ day (e.g. preliminary hearing) 750 1,500 2,500
Full day - 900 3,000 5,000
Second & subsequent days (refresher) 600 1,500 3,000

  1. recent qualification
  2. 3 – 10 years’ qualification
  3. senior - over 10 years’ qualification but not a Silk or QC.

A QC will be more expensive.

Counsel may charge for travel (which will be subject to VAT) and if it is not possible or feasible to travel and return on the same day there will be a charge for accommodation. Again, this this will depend on the destination or location and availability and accommodation would generally be between £100 and £150 plus VAT per night.

We handle the payment of most expenses on your behalf to ensure a smoother process but if employment tribunal fees are re-introduced, you will have to pay these yourself direct.

Our aim

We aim to settle employment disputes and many claims do settle, saving time and money while providing certainty. However, there are procedures along the way.

How long will the case take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved.

If a settlement is reached during ACAS pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take up to eight weeks. It is the Employment Tribunal that lists hearings, and as this is outside our control, it is difficult to say but it can take between six and 12 months and sometimes even longer for a claim to be heard. We will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

Key Stages

There are key stages in bringing or defending an employment tribunal claim:

Stage 1
  • taking your initial instructions and reviewing the papers and advising you on the merits and likely compensation or liability (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
  • pre-claim conciliation (ACAS Early Conciliation): this is before a claim is brought to explore whether a settlement can be reached. We do not usually act at this stage because it is much simpler and more cost effective for you to deal directly with ACAS, at no cost to you. However, we are pleased to advise you or to negotiate if you would like and, if so, we will charge you based on the time spent. This can take up to six weeks
  • preparing your claim (outlining the nature of the dispute and your case) or response (setting out your defence) and taking your instructions on it. Please note that, we are happy to provide you with a draft claim or draft response but, in order to save costs, we do generally request that you complete the required forms yourself and file the documents yourself online at the employment tribunal
  • reviewing and advising on the claim or the response from other side and the initial merits

Likely timescale for stage 1 – between four and 10 weeks.

Stage 2
  • preparing for a preliminary hearing or case management discussion: These hearings generally take place if the case is complicated or if there is a discrimination or other claim or issue to be decided as well
  • instructing Counsel to attend the hearing (see above)
  • attending any preliminary hearing or case management discussion

Likely timescale for Stage 2 – between two and six weeks.

Stage 3
  • reviewing further papers
  • listing your documents, exchanging documents with the other party
  • you will have to provide the other party with your documentary evidence. This is generally done by making a list of the documents and then sending copies of the documents to the other party. If you are a claimant, you will also have to produce documentary evidence about your attempts at finding alternative employment or work (mitigation)
  • exchanging documents with the other side
  • preparing and/or agreeing the files (bundles of the documents) to be used at the hearing with the other party
  • preparing or considering a schedule of loss. The claimant has to prepare a schedule setting out what losses have been incurred as a result of the dismissal. If you are the respondent we may well prepare or consider a counter schedule of loss
  • drafting or considering any costs warning letter
  • considering documents and updating you on the merits
  • exploring settlement, taking your instructions and negotiating a settlement entering into settlement discussions and preparing settlement documentation if applicable

Likely timescale for Stage 3 between four and eight weeks.

Stage 4
  • taking witness statements, drafting the statements and agreeing their content with the witnesses. The parties have to have to provide each other with a written statement setting out their witness evidence. The witness statement is used at the tribunal hearing. In order to save you costs, we may ask you to prepare a first draft of your witness statement
  • instructing any expert witness and reviewing their report or statement
  • reviewing and advising you on the other side’s witness statements
  • preparing mitigation statement if you are the claimant and collating the supporting evidence. (Mitigation is about attempts to find other employment or other sources of income)
  • agreeing a list of the issues, a chronology and/or cast list with the other party
  • corresponding with you, the other party and the employment tribunal
  • preparing for the final hearing, including instructing Counsel and discussion with Counsel
  • attending the final hearing
  • exploring settlement, taking your instructions and negotiating a settlement entering into settlement discussions and preparing settlement documentation if applicable

Likely timescale for Stage 4 – between four and 10 weeks.

Please note that throughout all the stages we will correspond with you and keep you informed. We will also communicate with the other side and the employment tribunal.

The stages set out above are an indication and some of the elements set out in the stages may not be required and will not be charged for.