Thank you for looking at our services for Employment Law. We regularly advise employers and employees on Employment Tribunal claims, Settlement Agreements and all other aspects of employment disputes.
All employment tribunal work is handled by Suzanne Brookes, a solicitor based at our Bideford office. Suzanne is an employment law specialist with over 20 years experience in this field.
Whether you wish to settle a claim or fight it at tribunal we have the experience and expertise to advise on the best strategy for you.
We appreciate that clients are concerned about the cost of legal services.
Our charges for handling Employment Tribunal proceedings for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal will be based on Suzanne Brookes’ hourly rate of £205 plus VAT.
It is difficult to give an exact cost as each case will vary in its complexity and the volume of work required. However, when first instructed, we will provide you with as accurate an estimate as possible of the likely legal fees and disbursements involved in your Employment Tribunal proceedings. The cost estimate that we provide is not intended to be a “quote”, as there may be unforeseen costs and disbursements that arise throughout the course of your matter that we would not have been aware of on receipt of your instructions.
However, bringing or defending a claim for unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal would typically cost in the region of £5,000 to £10,000 plus VAT, disbursements and the cost of representation at any hearings (see below), assuming we are instructed at the outset of the case and it proceeds to a final hearing lasting 1-2 days.
Included in the above fees would be all preparatory work for the hearing including:
- Drafting the claim or defence documents
- Collating and preparing evidence including documents and witness statements
- Preparing legal arguments and compliance with Employment Tribunal directions
- Ongoing advice as to your prospects of success
We will also liaise with ACAS and the opposing party to try to negotiate and finalise a settlement should this be your wish. If a settlement is agreed prior to a final hearing then the overall cost would normally be proportionately less.
We will always try to keep the legal costs and disbursements associated with your instructions to a minimum. If we become aware of the need for additional legal work and / or disbursements which were not envisaged at the time of our initial fee estimate we will discuss any change in fees with you and agree a way forward.
Disbursements & Representation at Hearings
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as tribunal fees and barrister’s fees.
If representation is required at a hearing then, depending on the location and duration of the hearing, it is often more cost effective to instruct a barrister to represent you at the hearing itself, whose fees would then be a disbursement payable in addition to our fees.
Barristers’ fees vary depending on the seniority and experience of the barrister, the length of the hearing, the nature of the case, and the amount of paperwork and preparation involved. We will discuss this with you at the relevant time, and use our experience to negotiate a fixed fee with a suitable barrister in advance of the hearing. As a rough guide, a typical fee payable to a barrister to represent you at a 1 day tribunal hearing would be in the region of £2,000 - £3,000 + VAT including preparation.
Alternatively, if Suzanne Brookes is to represent you at a hearing herself, then a separate estimate for the cost of her time preparing for and attending the hearing will be provided. If the hearing is local, this is likely to be broadly the same as a barrister of equivalent experience.
Factors Which May Make a Case More Complex
Factors that may lead to an increase in cost include:
- If it is necessary to make an application to amend your claim or to provide further information about an existing claim
- Making or defending a costs application
- Complex preliminary issues such as whether you have a disability (if this is not agreed by the parties)
- The number of witnesses and documents
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
- If there are allegations of discrimination linked to the dismissal
The time that it takes to resolve a claim for unfair and/or wrongful dismissal can vary from as little as a few weeks if an early settlement or resolution of the claim is agreed, to up to a year or occasionally more if the matter proceeds to a final tribunal hearing.
We will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.
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 merits and likely compensation (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 claim
- Reviewing and advising on the response from other party
- 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