We have set out below the issues you need to consider in relation to Legal Fees and disbursements for presenting or defending a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal.
Our Legal Fees cover all of the work required to handle your case from instruction to conclusion.
Legal Fees are the amount you will be required to pay for all the work performed by us in actioning your instructions from commencement of your case to conclusion.
This page sets out the likely costs if an employee were to bring a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal against you. Unfortunately, claims are sometimes brought by employees. These can often be time consuming and costly. This guide sets out some basic information about wrongful and unfair dismissal claims as well as some of the likely costs you will incur in defending a claim.
Our key recommendation is that you contact us before you dismiss an employee. If that is not possible, then speak to us as soon as you believe that a claim may be brought by an employee. This will allow us to work with you to reduce the chances of a claim being brought/ lodged, thereby saving you money in the long run.
Unfair dismissal claims vary in complexity depending on the background facts and the number of documents and/ or emails which need to be reviewed. An unfair dismissal claim relates solely to the termination of employment. Generally, an employee needs to have two years’ service to bring a claim for unfair dismissal although there are some exceptions which we will be happy to explain to you.
Wrongful dismissals are rarely brought on their own as they principally relate to whether an employee’s notice period has been paid. We would expect our costs for defending a wrongful dismissal claim to be between £1,000 and £2,000 plus VAT (£1200 - £2400 Inc. VAT) assuming that there is not a complicated factual matrix behind the dismissal or you wish to lodge a counterclaim.
The value and complexity of the matter alongside the stage at which the matter is resolved are factors that must be taken into account to confirm the fees in accordance with this scale.
If your matter becomes complex (see below) our fees may increase further and we will notify you in advance of any increased costs.
Should your instructions require us to take your matter out of the fixed fee rate (see below for what our fixed fee covers) we will charge an hourly rate of £275 Pus VAT (£330 inc. VAT) which will depend on the experience and qualification of the case handler as follows: -
Solicitor and Head of Employment
£275 plus VAT per hour (£330 Inc. VAT)
Solicitor and Director
£275 plus VAT per hour (£330 Inc. VAT)
£275 plus VAT per hour (£330 Inc. VAT)
The pricing below is intended to act as a guide so that you can understand the likely costs involved in defending a claim for unfair dismissal which ends up at a final hearing.
As each case is different and you should speak with us so that we can give you a more accurate quote. The costs which are indicated below will vary depending on our level of involvement with your matter.
£8,000 - £12,000 Plus VAT (£9,600 - £14,400 Inc VAT)
A case with some complicated facts:
£12,000 - £18,000 Plus VAT (£14,400 - £21,600 Inc. VAT)
A highly complicated case:
From £18,000 Plus VAT (From £21,600 Inc. VAT)
- If you would like a member of our team to attend the hearing, then there would be an additional charge of between £750 and £1,250 plus VAT per day (£900 - £1500 Inc. VAT).
- We will charge the sum of £45 + VAT (£54 inc. VAT) for Electronic money transfers.
If at any stage our fees change, we will notify you and discuss the reason for any changes. This would typically occur if you change your instructions or your case involves an unforeseen complexity.
Our average fees assume that:
The transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complication arise.
All parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from any parties providing documentation.
Disbursements and Other Costs
Disbursements may be incurred in the handling of the matter for you. In addition to our fees, you may need to pay some other expenses.
For Employment Claims these will typically be Counsel’s fees to provide advice or represent you at a hearing.
In addition to our fees, you will need to pay the fees of a barrister to represent you. The fees of a barrister vary depending on the experience of the advocate and how good they are! If Counsel is required to be instructed a quotation for their services will be obtained from them and discussed with your before they are instructed to ensure you are fully aware of the fees that will be charged.
In our experience, the initial fee for a barrister and the first day of the hearing (known as the brief fee) will be in the region of £1,000 - £3,000 plus VAT (£1200 – £3600 Inc. V AT). Each subsequent day would be an additional £500 - £1,500 plus VAT (£600 - £1800 Inc. VAT).
If you want a very experienced barrister then the cost is likely to be more.
You may also incur additional charges such as travel costs for us to attend meetings and hearings.
You will also need to pay the costs of printing, photocopying and storage which will not exceed £80 plus VAT (£96 Inc. VAT).
Stages of the Process
The precise stages involved in unfair or wrong dismissal claims vary according to the circumstances. The fees which we have set out above cover all of the work in relation to the key stages of a claim. They include: -
- taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely costs (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change);
- undertaking regulatory checks
- entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
- reviewing and advising on the claim from the other party;
- preparing the 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 (if necessary);
- 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; and
- preparation for the final hearing, including instructions to Counsel.
Obviously, if you reach a settlement before the final hearing or some of the stages are not needed then the fee may be reduced. Equally, fees may increase due to unexpected circumstances or additional stages, if this is likely to happen then we would discuss this with you.
How long will my case take?
The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved.
We are often asked how long a matter will take. This unfortunately is as about as easy to answer as the question “how long is a piece of string”. It will depend on whether you settle or end up at a final hearing. If you do end up at a final hearing, then the date of the hearing will depend on how busy the employment tribunal is and when they can fit you in.
If you settle during ACAS early conciliation, it is likely to take between two and six weeks from the date on which you commence the conciliation.
If you end up at full hearing then in our experience the final hearing will be between five and nine months from the date that the employee’s claim, depending on the length of hearing and the availability of judges. You may then have to wait for a decision if the tribunal needs more time to consider the evidence and give a reserved judgment.
We should be able to give you a more accurate timescale when we discuss your case with you.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when considering defending a claim for unfair dismissal. We highly recommend that you ring one of our excellent employment lawyers to discuss the case, its merits and the likely costs.
Factors That Could Make A Case More Complex
The following factors may make your case more complex and impact on your legal fees and disbursements: -
- a long history of events which lead to the dismissal;
- a claim of constructive unfair dismissal;
- the number of witnesses and documents;
- the number of days which the hearing is listed for;
- allegations of discrimination or harassment/ bullying which are linked to dismissal;
- making or defending a cost application;
- if you wanted a conference with counsel or meetings with witnesses;
- if the claim is for automatically unfair dismissal e.g. if the employee was dismissed after blowing the whistle; and
- if there are significant preliminary issues which have to be dealt with such as determining whether you are disabled (to the extent not agreed) or defending applications for a deposit or strike out order.
Should any of these factors occur we will notify you and discuss with you any increase in our legal fees or disbursements.
Our Employment Law Team
Gill Brown is Head of Employment Law and Qualified Solicitor and has overall supervision of our Employment Law Team. Gill qualified in 1996 and is a highly experienced solicitor and a member of the Employment Lawyer's Association, she specialises in pursuing and defending employment claims and all areas of Employment Law.
Jack Gardener is a Director at Phillips Law and a qualified solicitor. Jack Qualified in 2013 and gained his experience in the city at one of the world’s leading law firms before returning to work at Phillips, which was set up by his father and others over 30 years ago. He specialises in all areas of Employment Law.
Jacqueline Kendal qualified as a barrister in 2004, Jacqueline has an impressive track record where she has defended employer clients in employee claims and handling contractual disputes on behalf of employers and senior executives. She has represented clients in the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal as well as the High Court, County Court and has appeared in the Court of Appeal.
Anisha Grewal has recently joined Phillips as a Trainee Solicitor and currently works in our Employment Law team and is supervised by Gill Brown. Anisha is responsible for assisting with advising clients on a variety of employment matters. She graduated from Oxford Brooks University in 2017 and subsequently completed her Legal Practice Course (LPC) with commendation at Reading University in 2018.
You can find out more about our Employment team here : meet the team
If you have any questions relating to our services and our fees, please contact us on 01256 460830 or email us at [email protected]